Alicia Hollowell’s third straight shutout of the Women’s College World Series led Arizona to a 5-0 win over Northwestern and the school’s seventh national title Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
Hollowell, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, struck out 13 in the game and 64 for the tournament to break Debbie Doom’s previous tournament mark set in 1982. She allowed nine hits in the contest, but NU (50-15) stranded 10 in the contest, including leaving the bases loaded in the third and seventh innings.
“I’m happiest for these ladies,” UA head coach Mike Candrea said. “I have to thank them for their commitment and performing the way they did this past week. They played their best softball at the end. It’s a great feeling, probably one of the best feelings I’ve had. Alicia (Hollowell) went down in history with her performance, and she got great support offensively and defensively.”
Like a night ago, Arizona (54-11) struck first as it plated a run in the first inning. Caitlin Lowe reached on a single and moved into scoring position on a base hit from Autumn Champion that hit off the glove of Northwestern third baseman Darcy Sengewald. Kristie Fox moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Callista Balko scored Lowe with a ground out to second.
The top two in the UA order of Lowe and Champion combined to go 5-for-8 at the plate. Lowe singled twice and reached on an error while scoring twice, and Champion went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
The first-inning run was plenty of offensive support for Hollowell, but the Wildcats put the game out of reach with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth as Lowe delivered a single and advanced to second on an errant throw from Ashley Crane. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Lowe scored her second run of the night, and WCWS-record eighth of the tournament, on a Champion single. Balko capped the inning as she drove in her second run of the game with a double to right center that plated Champion.
“People were saying that this could be my last game,” Champion said. “I just wanted to go out and play Arizona softball.”
Arizona tacked on two more the next inning as consecutive singles from Taryn Mowatt, Laine Roth and Adrienne Acton loaded the bases with one out. An error at first scored pinch-runner Danielle Rodriguez, and Champion’s third base hit of the game scored Roth.
Eileen Canney took the loss as she allowed all five runs, three earned, on 12 hits with four strikeouts.
Canney, Champion, Garland Cooper, Lowe, Mowatt and Tammy Williams were all named to the all-tournament team along with Monica Abbott of Tennessee, Andrea Duran of UCLA, Kristi Durant of Tennessee, Heidi Knabe of Arizona State, and Texas’ Cat Osterman.