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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Arizona steals Game 2 of WCWS

    Pinch runner Danielle Rodriguez (12) scores the winning run off of a groundout by Adrienne Acton in the top of the 10th inning Tuesday night at the Womens College World Series in Oklahoma City. The Wildcats won the game 1-0 and tied the series at one game a piece.
    Pinch runner Danielle Rodriguez (12) scores the winning run off of a groundout by Adrienne Acton in the top of the 10th inning Tuesday night at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. The Wildcats won the game 1-0 and tied the series at one game a piece.

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Danielle Rodriguez’s 21st birthday turned out to be extra special.

    With the No. 1 Arizona softball team facing elimination last night in the second game of the Women’s College World Series championship series, the junior second baseman scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning to propel the Wildcats to a 1-0 victory over No. 5 Tennessee.

    Pinch running for Sam Banister, Rodriguez stood ready at third base with one out when right fielder Adrienne Acton came up to bat. Acton slapped the ball on the ground, and Rodriguez dove around the tag at the plate to nip the outside edge with her fingertips.

    “”Right when I got to third base, coach (Mike Candrea) told me, ‘If it is on the ground, you are going, and you need to get the best jump of your life,'”” Rodriguez said. “”I knew that all game Adrienne was hitting the ball on the ground, so I was expecting her to do it again. I just tried to run as fast as I could.””

    The play broke the Wildcats’ 23-inning scoreless streak against Monica Abbott (50-4).

    Although Abbott has been receiving most of the attention in this series for her overpowering dominance in the circle, it was Arizona starting pitcher Taryne Mowatt (41-12) who came out on top.

    Mowatt threw all 10 innings and has thrown seven games in the previous six days, totaling 888 pitches.

    “”My arm is feeling better than ever,”” Mowatt said. “”I have hit a bumpy streak in the middle games, but it is feeling really good. I am just happy the championship game is (today).””

    Arizona (49-14-1) plays the decisive third game today at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

    Mowatt repeatedly got out of jams, holding 14 Lady Vols on the basepaths after allowing a runner to reach second base in five different innings.

    Using an array of fastballs and a diverse selection of off-speed pitches, Mowatt struck out 11 batters – bringing her season total to 511 and breaking Arizona’s single-season record (508) put up by Alicia Hollowell in 2004.

    The biggest threat came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Tennessee (63-7) loaded the bases with no outs. Mowatt got her first bit of help when Lindsay Schutzler grounded into a fielder’s choice throw that nailed Liane Horiuchi at home.

    On the next two plays, second baseman Chelsie Mesa made an outstanding catch over her shoulder in shallow right field, and senior shortstop Kristie Fox ended the threat with another great catch in the outfield, robbing the Lady Vols of a bloop single.

    “”I just had to stay calm, and I tried not to get worked up about it,”” Mowatt said. “”There were no outs, and the bases were loaded, and they probably had their best three hitters up to bat. I hit my spots, and I thought I jammed the last two batters.””

    Mowatt added: “”Chelsie and Fox got really good jumps on the balls behind them and were able to catch them. It was an exciting inning, and it got us fired up a little bit.””

    Still, Abbott was nothing short of spectacular, as she stymied the Wildcat offense once again. The USA Softball Player of the Year struck out 11 Arizona batters, but her WCWS scoreless streak ended at 43 innings.

    In the top of the sixth, the 6-foot-3 senior left-hander broke the WCWS record for the most strikeouts in tournament history after fanning Fox for her 65th punchout, breaking Hollowell’s record of 63 set last season. Her WCWS total stands at 68.

    The Wildcats must figure out Abbott again if they are to notch the program’s third back-to-back title run.

    “”This was a very exciting game to say the least,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”I cannot say enough about the performance of Taryne throughout this tournament. She is feeling great, and the ‘Cats are still alive.””

    Extra bases

    Mowatt set a WCWS record for most complete games pitched (seven). … Mowatt has set a WCWS record for most walks, 25, but only two of the baserunners have made it home to score. … Arizona improved to 3-1-1 in extra innings games this season.

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