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ARIZONA WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
For complete information on the 2001 Women's College World Series, click here.
Lindsey Collins hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the fourth and tournament Most Outstanding Player Jennie Finch made it stand with a four-hit shutout as Arizona defeated UCLA 1-0 in the Championship Game of the 2001 Women's College World Series. The championship was the sixth overall for Arizona and the first since 1997, when the Wildcats defeated UCLA.
Arizona threatened with two outs in the top of the first inning when Toni Mascarenas and Leneah Manuah drew back-to-back walks, but Amanda Freed got Finch to foul out to end the inning. Arizona also put two runners on base with one out in the third inning, but Freed retired the next two batters on soft infield line drives. Freed struck out six and finished with a three-hitter.
Arizona broke the deadlock in the fourth when Collins lined a pitch over the fence in right-centerfield to put the Wildcats on top 1-0. That would be all Finch would need, as she finished with seven strikeouts. Finch also helped herself with a defensive gem and benefitted from a UCLA baserunning error.
Freed led off the fifth for UCLA with a single, but was unable to advance when Finch made a diving catch on Toria Auelua's sacrifice bunt attempt. Freed was thrown out at second on Moniqe Mejia's bunt attempt, then Mejia was called out for leaving first base after the ball was in the pitching circle.
UCLA had its strongest threat in the bottom of the sixth as Natasha Watley led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Finch retired the next two batters on short fly outs to bring up Stacey Nuveman. Nuveman was intentionally walked to bring up Claire Sua, who drove in five runs in the tournament following intentional walks to Nuveman. Sua went after the first pitch and flied out to left field to end the inning.
Finch retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh inning, striking out Auelua looking to end the game and give the Wildcats the championship.
With the win, Finch improves to 32-0, becoming the third pitcher in Division I history to complete a season undefeated (minimum 25 decisions) and the first to do so with at least 30 victories.
Mascarenas was held without a home run for the first time in this year's WCWS, leaving her tied for the WCWS home run record with three.
ARIZONA COACH MIKE CANDREA: "I enjoyed sitting in the dugout and watching the players celebrate. That's what you enjoy as a coach."
ARIZONA COACH MIKE CANDREA on his eight seniors: "I think the biggest maturation process for the seniors has been their approach to the game. They realized it's a team game and a game of failure and that you need to approach the game one pitch at a time."
ARIZONA JUNIOR PITCHER JENNIE FINCH: "This is a perfect ending to a perfect season and I'm so happy for our eight seniors."
UCLA COACH SUE ENQUIST: "It's unfortunate we didn't capitalize. We had numerous opportunities."
UCLA COACH SUE ENQUIST: "I think that Amanda Freed did a terrific job. She got in a pinch a couple of times and got out of it."
UCLA PITCHER AMANDA FREED: "My arm felt fine. I just wanted to let my defense do the job and get them out 1-2-3."