Kristie Fox’s one-out single in the ninth scored Caitlin Lowe with the game-winning run as second-seeded Arizona knocked off seven seed Oregon State 3-2 in a Women’s College World Series opener that was delayed 1 hour, 35 minutes by thunderstorms.
Fox drove in two runs as she collected a pair of hits in four at-bats. The top three in the order of Lowe, Autumn Champion and Fox combined for a 7-for-13 plate outing in the battle of Pac-10 foes. Lowe scored two of the Wildcats’ three runs on the day.
“Wow, what a game,” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. “Great way, I guess, to kick off the College World Series, but it feels really good to be on the winning side of that game because it was a tough one with the rain delay. We had many opportunities, but we just could not cash in on a key hit. We finally got the key hit. It was a battle of two great pitchers – it was the typical great college game.”
Alicia Hollowell picked up the win to run her record to 28-4 on the year and move UA to 50-10 overall. She allowed an earned run on five hits with 10 strikeouts. Brianne McGowan suffered the loss for Oregon State (43-15) as she was struck for all three runs on 10 hits with five K’s in the complete-game effort.
Arizona jumped on top in the third as Champion singled to short to score Adrienne Acton. The Wildcats added another run the next hitter as Fox singled to left center to score Lowe.
McGowan put OSU on the board in the fifth as McGowan helped her own cause with a two-out, solo home run over the left field fence. Arizona’s at-bat in the bottom half of the frame was interrupted as play was suspended due to a thunderstorm that trekked across Oklahoma City.
Play resumed in the UA fifth with a walk to Laine Rothe. Acton followed with a single, but McGowan got Lowe to fly out and Champion and Fox to strike out to end the Wildcats’ threat.
Despite being shutout in the fifth, OSU completed the comeback in the sixth as Adrienne Alo, who went 3-for-4 on the day, laced a one-out single to center and moved to second on Lisa Allen’s sacrifice bunt. Vanessa Iapala walked, and Stefanie Ewing hit a bouncer to Hollowell that was thrown away to allow Alo to score the tying run.
Arizona had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh. The Wildcats had Lowe reach on a single, but she was called out for leaving first base early. The mistake cost UA a bases-loaded opportunity following an infield hit from Champion and a Fox walk. McGowan got Callista Balko to fly out to center to send the game into extra frames.
The Wildcats had another chance in the eighth as Taryn Mowatt hit a two-out double off the glove of OSU left fielder Cambria Miranda. Roth walked to give Arizona runners at first and second, but Hollowell struck out Samantha Banister to send the game into the deciding inning.