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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fox’s walk-off homer lifts softball in WCWS opener

    Kristie Fox hits a 3-run home run to right center in the sixth inning of a 6-2 win over Creighton on March 6. Fox went 0-for-8 in the next series against Baylor, in which the Bears won two of three games, but she hit a ninth-inning walk off home run to beat Baylor 2-1 on Thursday.
    Kristie Fox hits a 3-run home run to right center in the sixth inning of a 6-2 win over Creighton on March 6. Fox went 0-for-8 in the next series against Baylor, in which the Bears won two of three games, but she hit a ninth-inning walk off home run to beat Baylor 2-1 on Thursday.

    It may have taken longer than usual, but they got the job done. All it took was one swing of the bat from senior shortstop Kristie Fox.

    The top-seeded Arizona softball team advanced to the winner’s bracket of the Women’s College World Series after Fox hit a solo walk-off home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the ninth inning, projecting the Wildcats to a 2-1 victory over Baylor on Thursday at Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.

    “”I had a vision in the last inning,”” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said in a post game press conference. “”I told the kids in the dugout, ‘Now when we hit a home run, make sure you stay back behind home plate.’ I took a gamble and made a call on Fox.””

    Fox is no stranger to walk-off hits in the postseason, as this is the second consecutive year she has come up with a game-winning hit in the WCWS. Almost a year ago to the day, Fox hit a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth that would lift Arizona to a 3-2 victory over Oregon State in last year’s world series opener.

    After already posting a single, a double, and a run scored, the shortstop couldn’t have picked a better time to notch her 15th home run of the season.

    “”Sometimes you just take a chance and I took a chance,”” Fox said in a post game press conference. “”I went up there with the mentality just to get on base for my team and let them do the job. But every once in a while I like to take a big swing and that’s what I did.””

    Fox wouldn’t have been in the position she found herself in if it wasn’t for the stellar play of Arizona starting pitcher Taryne Mowatt. The Corona, Calif., native struck out 15 batters – tying her season high – while yielding no earned runs and two hits.

    The NFCA All-American tossed her sixth consecutive complete game victory, throwing 156 pitches.

    “”This is my first time being on the mound at the World Series,”” Mowatt said in a press conference following the game. “”But after a while I think I settled in. I knew that I just needed to keep my team in the ball game and eventually we would score.””

    Fox scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth off a ground out by Laine Roth, putting the Wildcats up 1-0. Baylor’s only run would come in the very next inning on a passed ball, tying the game.

    Arizona (45-12-1) will now move on to face No. 5 seed Tennessee Friday at 6 p.m. MST, while Baylor (50-15) will face Texas A&M Saturday after dropping its first appearance in the WCWS.

    Mowatt will meet her match as the Wildcats will see Tennessee’s most dominant pitcher, Monica Abbott, who tossed a no-hitter in the Volunteer’s World Series opener Thursday, a 2-0 victory over Texas A&M.

    “”We have seen her before and she is a very good pitcher, but we have a very good pitcher,”” Candrea said. “”It’s going to be a good ball game.””

    Extra Bases

    6,812 came out to see the second session of games, setting a WCWS record . . . Thursday’s game was televised on ESPNHD . . . Arizona is now 2-11 in this year’s extra inning games . . . Arizona has improved its record to 52-3 in WCWS matches where it scores at least one run.

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