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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Softball: Wildcats stayin’ alive at World Series

Softball: Wildcats stayin alive at World Series

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — All season, the Wildcats rode the arm of pitcher Kenzie Fowler.

There was no difference in the third day of the Women’s College World Series, where the Wildcats rode the arm of the freshman ace to a 5-1 victory to eliminate Hawaii from the Oklahoma City, Okla., tournament Saturday.

If there was any question as to Fowler’s injured arm, the effect of the illegal pitches called against her or her fatigue after throwing two complete games, she dismissed all doubts with her performance in Arizona’s second elimination game.

“”It’s the World Series, this is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life,”” Fowler said. “”We just mixed really well tonight and coach Wilson just called a great game and I felt loose as I went. We talked about the beginning of the game just having fun and playing loose and not playing not to lose.””

The freshman picked up two wins in back-to-back games and only got stronger as the day went on.

“”I think the team did a great job riding Kenzie’s (arm),”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”I think (she had) a tremendous performance through some adversity and threw not like a freshman, but like a seasoned veteran.””

After eliminating defending national champion Washington earlier in the day, Fowler (36-7) was able to quiet the big bats of the Rainbow Wahine by striking out 13 Hawaii batters.

She retired the side consecutively in the fifth and sixth innings and at one point had struck out seven of eight batters.

For Fowler, the illegal call pitches continued in the Wildcats’ third game of the WCWS.

The freshman from Tucson, Ariz., racked up five in the game against Hawaii and has 21 total in Oklahoma City.

The Wildcats (50-12) did damage early and often Saturday night. Left fielder Brittany Lastrapes started off the game with a bunt and would be moved over by a Lauren Schutzler sacrifice. On a K’Lee Arredondo bunt, a bad throw by starting Hawaii pitcher Stephanie Ricketts allowed Lastrapes to score.

Arizona is now 43-2 when scoring first.

Right fielder Karissa Buchanan was once again the igniter for the Wildcats on Saturday.

Her infield single in the third inning started a rally for Arizona that would plate two more runs off a singles from Lastrapes, Arredondo and junior Stacie Chambers.

“”It’s like coach always tells us, long as we put the ball in play and we hit the ball hard on the ground, things will happen,”” said Chambers.

As in the earlier Arizona game, errors helped the Wildcats put runs on the board. In the fifth inning, a two out rally increased UA’s lead to four. Second baseman Kristen Arriola walked with two outs. Then, Buchanan and Lastrapes hit consecutive singles. Schutzler then reached on an error charged to Dara Pagaduan that scored both Arriola and Buchanan.

Pagaduan came into the game to replace shortstop Jessica Iwata who was injured on a play in which she made a back-hand stab and threw out Arizona first baseman Baillie Kirker. Hawaii’s regular second baseman, Tracy Yoshikawa, moved to the shortstop position and Pagaduan was placed at second when the error was made. Iwata would return to her rightful position right after the error was made.

At that point, Kaia Parnaby replaced the Rainbow Wahine starting pitcher Ricketts, who was charged with five runs, seven hits. She struck out just two batters in 3 2/3 innings pitched.

“”Tonight it was nice to get our offense going a little bit,”” Candrea said.

“”We talked about using the ground. The ground is your best friend this time of the year. Our short game is obviously a big part of our offense.””

Hawaii’s Traci Yoshikawa plated the only run of the game for Hawaii when she went yard with a solo shot in the third inning. Fowler would use strikeouts as the means to suppress the rest of the Hawaii batters in the third, and the rest of the game.

Fowler ended six innings by the strikeout and ended the Cinderella season for the No. 16 seed Hawaii team that came to the WCWS as the best at producing the home run.

The Wildcats will now take on No. 15 seed Tennessee in a rematch of the opening game of the WCWS Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time.


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