Defending champion Washington eliminated by Arizona 4-3 at Women’s College World Series

By Jeff Latzke, AP
Saturday, June 5, 2010

Defending champ Washington out at Women’s CWS

OKLAHOMA CITY — Danielle Lawrie’s college career came to a tearful end with a defensive meltdown by her defending champion Washington Huskies.

K’Lee Arredondo drove in two runs and Karissa Buchanan scored twice as Arizona scored three unearned runs against Lawrie and sent the Huskies home with a 4-3 defeat Saturday at the Women’s College World Series.

Later Saturday, Kenzie Fowler struck out 13 in a two-hitter as the Wildcats beat Hawaii 5-1 to earn a rematch against Tennessee in Sunday’s semifinals. The other semifinal will feature Georgia against UCLA.

UCLA and Tennessee each need only one win in two chances, while Georgia and Arizona would need to win two in a row to advance to the best-of-three championship series.

Neither of last year’s finalists even made it to the semis this time.

“I can’t sit and say, ‘I’m so mad we didn’t win, I’m so mad we didn’t win,’ because we didn’t. We didn’t prove that we deserved to win,” said Lawrie, only the second woman to be selected national player of the year twice. “When you come to the World Series, it’s anybody’s game. That’s honestly how it is.

“You’ve got to battle your butt off. Not that we didn’t do that, but it just wasn’t our time.”

Lawrie had won her previous five starts against her Pac-10 rival with a 1.00 ERA, but she wasn’t able to keep the 10th-seeded Wildcats from capitalizing on three defensive miscues by the usually sound Huskies.

No. 3 seed Washington (50-9) hadn’t allowed more than one earned run in a game all season and came in with the best fielding percentage of the eight World Series teams and the eighth-best mark in the nation.

“I wanted to win obviously but right now I’m at peace and I’m happy,” Lawrie said through tears. “I’m disappointed we lost but at the end of the day, a good five years.”

Amanda Fleischman misplayed two grounders that resulted in Arizona runs, and the Wildcats added a key insurance run after Morgan Stuart bobbled Brittany Lastrapes’ two-out grounder in the seventh inning.

Stuart dove in a bid to catch Lauren Schutzler’s infield single to move pinch runner Becca Tikey to second, and Lawrie then allowed a clean single to Arredondo to make it 4-2.

Jenn Salling cut the deficit to one with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh after Taylor Smith’s triple. That marked the second time the Huskies scored as a result of an out being overturned because of an illegal pitch.

Fleischman was also thrown out at the plate by Lastrapes, the left-fielder, in the third and Washington’s bid for a rally in the fifth was cut short when Salling was called out for stopping momentarily off third base when pitcher Fowler (36-7) had the ball in the circle.

“The bottom line: You can’t blame people,” Lawrie said. “It’s obviously upsetting that that’s what it came down to, but you’re controlling your own destiny. It’s not something that you can just let affect you for years to come.”

Last season, the Huskies spent three weeks away from home on their way to a whirlwind first NCAA softball title. This time, they came in as the favorite after the NCAA tournament’s top two seeds — Alabama and Michigan — were upset in the super regionals.

Also eliminated Saturday were fourth-seeded Florida — last year’s runner-up — and Missouri. Florida beat Missouri 5-0 before losing 3-2 to Georgia.

“Unlike last year, this year we just didn’t peak at the right time, and we’re sitting here two and out,” Washington coach Heather Tarr said.

Arizona, one of the nation’s top five teams in home runs, managed only six singles but they came at key times.

Schutzler followed singles by Buchanan and Lastrapes with one of her own to put Arizona on the board first, and Fleischman couldn’t handle Arredondo’s grounder to make it 2-0. Arredondo then had RBI singles to follow Fleischman’s second miscue in the fifth and Stuart’s bobble, too.

“We knew it was going to be a tough one. I told the kids that we have to make the ground our friend. You’re not going to sit in there and swing away and expect to do much against (Lawrie),” Arizona coach Mike Candrea said. “You’ve got to make things happen.”

Arizona 5, Hawaii 1

Brittany Lastrapes had three singles and scored twice, K’Lee Arredondo had an RBI double and the 10th-seeded Wildcats (50-12) scored three unearned runs off Stephanie Ricketts (30-10).

Hawaii set an NCAA record this season with 158 home runs but the nation’s highest-scoring offense failed to score any runs without the aid of the long ball in three games at the World Series. Traci Yoshikawa provided the only offense for the Rainbow Wahine (50-16) with a solo homer in the third inning.

Alexandra Aguirre had a single for Hawaii’s only other hit against Kenzie Fowler.

Georgia 3, Florida 2

Brianna Hesson singled home the winning run in the fifth inning and Erin Arevalo struck out the final five batters to snuff out a Florida rally.

Alisa Goler hit a two-run home run in the first inning for the sixth-seeded Bulldogs (50-12), who immediately bounced back after Florida (49-10) came back to tie it in the top of the fifth.

Megan Wiggins was hit by a pitch by Stephanie Brombacher (35-8) with one out and moved up on Goler’s single before scoring on Hesson’s RBI single to right.

Florida then got runners to second and third with one out in the sixth before Arevalo (20-6) struck out the last five hitters. She threw 2 2-3 scoreless innings of relief.

Brittany Schutte hit her third home run of the day for Florida.

Florida 5, Missouri 0

Brittany Schutte homered twice and Kelsey Bruder also went deep to back a six-hit shutout by Stephanie Brombacher.

The Tigers (51-13), making their first consecutive World Series appearances, were the first team eliminated for the second straight year.

Schutte hit a two-run shot to right off Kristen Nottelmann (24-9) to open the scoring in the fourth, then added a solo shot off reliever Jana Hainey as the fourth-seeded Gators put the game away with two more runs in the seventh.

Three of Florida’s four hits were home runs.

Rhea Taylor had three singles for ninth-seeded Missouri, which left eight runners on base against Brombacher.

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