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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Swept

 

Arizona softball’s streak of six straight appearances in the Women’s College World Series could not be extended Saturday, as the Wildcats fell for the second time in two days to the Oklahoma Sooners by a score of 5-2 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

“”We got beat by a better team,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”(Oklahoma) came in here and played well. They played with calm confidence and they executed the game when they needed to.””

Oklahoma’s “”calm confidence”” was the result of opening an early lead for the second day in a row. The Sooners started the scoring in the first inning on a two-run home run by Keilani Ricketts, her second in as many games.

Arizona pitcher Kenzie Fowler was able to retain her cool to get out of the inning with a strikeout of Sooner left fielder Brittany Williams.

Like game one of the Super Regional, Fowler had a nightmare fourth inning, allowing three hits, two walks, and three runs as all nine batters in the Sooner lineup saw the plate.

Fowler started the fourth off by giving up a single to Chana’e Jones and a walk to OU third baseman Dani Dobbs. After a fly out, Fowler surrendered another hit, leaving the bases loaded for Sooner centerfielder Destinee Martinez.

Martinez singled down the right field line just past the reach of Arizona first baseman Lini Koria, driving in two runs and increasing the Oklahoma lead to 4 runs. A fielding error by second baseman Kristen Arriola extended the inning, allowing Cierra Hughes to reach home safely.

Reminiscent of Friday’s game, the Arizona bats were not able to give Fowler run support. The Wildcats again left 11 runners on base to bring their total over two games to 22 stranded runners.

Arizona went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Saturday afternoon, and 0-for-18 for the series.

“”Once we got down five runs, everyone’s spirits dropped a little bit,”” senior outfielder Lauren Schutzler said. “”We kept trying to pick it up, and kept trying to push back at it. But it’s hard when you are down five runs and you’re facing Keilani Ricketts.””

Ricketts nearly had a series shutout of the Wildcats, but she allowed a two-run homer by Koria with only one out left on Saturday.

The late game charge by the Wildcats came up short. Arriola followed up the home run with a single into right field, but Oklahoma got the final out in the next at bat as right fielder Karissa Buchanan grounded into a fielder’s choice.

Oklahoma will make its first appearance in the Women’s College World Series since 2004.

“”I’m really overwhelmed with lots of emotion in the way of happiness, relief, pride, just a lot of feelings,”” said Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso. “”I’m just really excited for this team and this program. We’ve been knocking on the door for a long time.””

After the game, Candrea had some harsh words for his team.

“”The weekend found our holes,”” he said. “”We definitely had some weaknesses in our lineup. And I think to be a College World Series team you have to have production one through nine. We may have 20 players, but we don’t have a lot of depth. We’ve got way too much dead weight on the team and that’s going to change.””

 

 

 

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