Just hours after getting a late base hit to knock off Washington 2-0, Arizona’s offense found its rhythm early Sunday evening as the Wildcats eliminated Pac-10 foe Washington to advance to the national championship series for the second straight year at the Women’s College World Series.
Arizona (48-13-1) will face Tennessee in the opening game of the best-of-three series Monday at 7 p.m. CDT. It will be the first finals appearance for the Lady Vols and the 12th finals berth since 1991 for Arizona.
A crowd of 4,602 fans watched the Wildcat win. The nightcap’s attendance total established a new WCWS overall attendance record, with 46,398 fans watching the first seven sessions of the series. The mark eclipses the previous best of 46,122 set through nine sessions at last year’s tournament.
Just two days removed from committing the error that led to Tennessee’s 1-0 win, Chelsie Mesa went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and a season-best three runs scored. Jenae Leles also helped guide the 12-hit attack in which seven Wildcats collected a hit, going 2-for-2 with a walk and four RBIs which ties her season high.
That was plenty off offensive support for Mowatt, who allowed a run on four hits with nine strikeouts while moving to 40-11 on the year.
UA got on the board in the top of the first inning as Lowe and Mesa both led off with singles. Two batters later, Leles drove a double to the outfield fence that scored the two lead-off hitters and put the Cats up 2-0.
They added another run in the third as Kristie Fox singled with one out. Leles followed with a walk, and after a Laine Roth strikeout, Sam Banister came up big again, this time with a single that scored Fox to extend the lead to 3-0.
Washington cut into the lead with a run in the fourth inning on Lauren Greer’s single that scored Dominique Lastrapes, but Arizona bounced right back with another run in the top of the fifth.
Mesa led off the frame with a single, and after stealing second, she advanced to third on a base hit from Fox. Leles scored her as she lifted a sacrifice fly to left that padded the lead at 4-1.
Danielle Lawrie, who fell to 31-13 after allowing the four runs, three earned, on eight hits with seven strikeouts, gave way to Caitlin Noble in the sixth.
Noble didn’t fare much better against a determined Arizona offense, allowing four runs in a sixth inning in which nine UA hitters stepped to the plate.
A walk to Callista Balko led the inning off, and Acton followed with a ground ball that was misplayed by Noble. After Caitlin Lowe flew out to center, Mesa capped her outstanding day with an RBI double that scored pinch-runner Cyndi Duran and K’Lee Arredondo while sending Acton to third.
Fox scored Acton on a sacrifice fly to right field, and Leles capped the scoring as she delivered a two-out base hit that scored Mesa.