May 26, 2007
Tucson, AZ - Host and top-seeded Arizona scored 11 unanswered runs over the course of three innings and the No. 4 and top-seeded Wildcats posted their largest comeback of the year, an 11-6 victory over visiting Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night in front of 2,193 fans at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.
Fullerton, playing in its first-ever NCAA softball super regional, fell to 38-22 overall and must beat Arizona twice on Sunday to advance to their first Women's College World Series since 1995. Arizona improved to 43-12-1 overall this season.
The normally solid Titans defense, which led the Big West Conference in fielding, committed a season-high tying five errors leading to nine unearned runs off Fullerton starter Candice Baker (21-13), lasted 5 1/3 innings allowing two earned runs (11 overall) on seven hits, walking three and striking out three.
The floodgates opened in the fifth as a crucial error with two outs proved to be the downfall as a walk followed to bring up Laine Roth, who belted a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right field to give the Wildcats the 6-5 lead.
Arizona then poured it on in the sixth as three errors led to five unearned runs. K'Lee Arredondo reached on an error, stole second, and came around to score as Sarah Akamine's ground ball to short was bobbled to make it 7-5.
A two-run double by Kristie Fox followed two batters later and a two-run home run by Jenae Leles capped the scoring for the Wildcats as they went up 11-5.
Fullerton got one of the runs back in the seventh as a two-out double to right centerfield by Jenna Wheeler scored pinch-runner Amanda Fernandez to make it 11-6, but that would be as close as the Titans would get.
Taryne Mowatt (35-10) went the distance, allowing six runs (four earned) on nine hits, walking three and striking out eight. She retired nine of 10 at one point in the third through fifth innings - five of those via strikeout.
Fullerton took a commanding 5-0 lead after only a half an inning as the first six batters in the order reached base safely. Sophomore Lauren Lupinetti got Fullerton on the board with a bloop two-run single to center and was followed two batters later by junior Katie Gollhardt, who added an RBI single to make it 3-0.
The final blow was dealt by junior Crystal Vieyra, whose liner to right centerfield fell inbetween Caitlin Lowe and Adrienne Acton as Lowe crashed into the wall and was injured on the play. Lupinetti and Kiki Munoz came around to score as the throw came back in to make it 5-0.
After zeroes put up by Baker in the first three innings, the Wildcats' finally broke through in the fourth as a walk to Kristie Fox and an error on a fielder's choice by Jenae Leles put a pair on for Callista Balko, who launched the first pitch from Baker over the wall in left field to give Arizona life and make it 5-3.
Gollhardt and Vieyra each had two hits to lead the Fullerton offense while seven of the nine Titan starters had at least one hit. Leles and Balko each had two hits for the Wildcats.
Cal State Fullerton and Arizona clash in game two of the series on Sunday afternoon (May 27) at 12 p.m. PDT. The Titans will be the home team for that contest and fans can catch the game televised nationally on ESPN-U.
NOTES: Arizona's Caitlin Lowe was injured in the first inning of the game after crashing into the wall in right centerfield chasing after Crystal Vieyra's long single to the gap... Lowe was removed from the game and her status for the remainder of the series is uncertain... the five-run deficit was the largest overcome by the Wildcats this season, surpassing the three-run deficit against Washington on May 12 as Arizona trailed 4-1 before coming back to win 5-4 in eight innings... Arizona improved to 31-0 when leading after five while the Titans fell to 2-12.