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WCWS: Banister Keeps Wildcats Alive

Sam Banister is a thorn in the side of the Washington Huskies. That continued Sunday in the Women’s College World Series as her two-out double scored a pair of runs to give Arizona a 2-0 win over the Huskies and keep the Wildcats’ repeat hopes alive. 

Arizona moved to 47-13-1 on the year and forced an if-necessary game with the Huskies (42-18) Sunday at 6 p.m. for the right to advance to the best-of-three championship series which begins Monday night at Hall of Fame Stadium. 

“We are taking it one game at a time,” UA head coach Mike Candrea said. “That is the way things go when you play in the Pac-10. You have to get a key hit and play good defense and have good pitching. You have to take it one game at a time and fight our way back.” 

With one out in the sixth, Jenae Leles singled. Callista Balko attempted to bunt her to second, but she popped out to the catcher for the second out. UA kept the inning alive as Laine Roth walked, and Banister stepped to the plate and delivered a line drive to the fence in right center that scored pinch-runner Jill Malina and Roth. 

“I hit a hard curve ball,” Banister said. “I was looking to put the ball in play – trying to make them work.” 

The win moved Arizona to 3-1 against the Huskies on the season. It was the second game this season that Banister delivered the winning run over the Huskies as she hit an eighth-inning, walk-off home run in the Cats’ 5-4 win on May 12. 

Taryne Mowatt continued to hold the opposing offense in check, hurling her 17th shutout of the season as she allowed just four hits while striking out eight to move to 39-11 on the year. In four WCWS games, Mowatt has surrendered two runs on 10 hits over 29 innings. 

Danielle Lawrie suffered her first loss of the tournament, falling to 31-12 after surrendering the two runs on just three hits while striking out eight. 

“As I look at the game and reflect on it, it couldn’t have been a more even game,” Washington head coach Heather Tarr said. “Unfortunately, they struck first. They got the big hit at the right time. Obviously, it could have gone in our favor, too. Danielle (Lawrie) threw a great game and kept us in it. We just didn’t get the timely hit like they did.” 

The Huskies collected one more hit than the Wildcats did, but UW left eight runners on, including three in scoring position.