Cat Osterman struck out 19, the second most in a Women's College World Series game, and MicKayla Padilla scored the winning run as Texas eliminated Arizona 1-0 in 11 innings Sunday in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Both Osterman and Arizona's Alicia Hollowell, who entered in relief of starter Leslie Wolfe in the second, kept each other's offense off-balance through the 11th inning, the third straight extra-inning contest of the tournament. Osterman allowed four hits without allowing a run, and her 19 strikeouts were one shy of tying the tournament mark set by UCLA's Debbie Doom in 1982. Hollowell gave up an unearned run on five hits with 11 strikeouts in nine and two-thirds innings.
The two pitchers combined for 30 strikeouts, breaking the WCWS record for most strikeouts by both teams in a single game that was established in a 1984 game between Northwestern and UCLA.
The Longhorns, who took advantage of an Alabama mistake Thursday to score the winning run in the opening round, scored the go-ahead run on a Wildcat error. Padilla led off the frame with a single, and after a Tina Boutelle flyout, Chez Sievers capped her 2-for-5 offensive outing with a single to put runners at first and second.
Desiree Williams followed with a base hit to right field that was fielded by Arizona's Allyson Von Liechtenstien. Her throw to the plate froze Padilla in a rundown between third and home plate. Padilla retreated back toward third, but a throw to Shelly Schultz forced her back toward the plate. Schultz's throw to Arizona catcher Jackie Coburn hit Padilla in the shoulder, allowing her to cross the plate with what proved to be the winning run.
"It was just one of those games that was a grind," Texas head coach Connie Clark said. "Cat (Osterman) was fresh at the beginning of the game, but we wore her out pretty good today. She was phenomenal as far as staying in the now and continuing to come back. I think the team did a better job than I did today at staying in the now.
"We knew that if we had an opportunity, especially if the ball was hit to the right side, that we were going to send her home," Clark added. "MicKayla did a very good job because she had to make sure the ball was down and because there was one out. There was a little hesitancy there because she had to make sure the ball was down. But we wanted to send her."
Arizona proved it wasn't going to go out without a fight in the bottom of the 11th. Caitlin Lowe, who was 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot, led off with a base hit, and she moved to second on Autumn Champion's slap hit to second base. Kristie Fox and Jackie Coburn each forced a walk to load the bases. Osterman beared down, however, and forced Shelly Schultz to fly out to shallow right field for the second out, and she struck out Jennifer Martinez to end the game.
"I thought we played our hearts out," Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. "Alicia (Hollowell) came in and did everything we asked her to do, like she's done all year, and gave us a chance. We had some chances, and we couldn't get it done. I've seen the ball bounce crazily a couple of times, and both times it has kind of cost us ball games. This team played hard, but Texas came out on top and we didn't."
Texas moved its record to 49-12 on the year and will face UCLA Sunday afternoon. The Longhorns will have to defeat the Bruins twice to advance to Monday's championship series. Arizona ends its season at 45-12.