Arizona Wildcats

The Drought is over! Arizona punches its ticket to Oklahoma City and the WCWS

(Tucson, AZ)  Going into today’s game, the Wildcats wanted to get on top early and keep the pedal down. The Wildcat’s power offense was absent in Game 1.

Mississippi has been a team of small ball and singles hitters all year and the first game of this series was no different. They scratched out two runs, one at a time, but then Wildcat pitcher Taylor McQuillin only allowed one single after the second inning.

The Cats started off meekly as they went down in order off of Rebel ace Molly Jacobsen.

Ole Miss got a runner aboard in the bottom of the first inning when Abbey Latham doubled to the left center field gap. She advance to third base on a fielder’s choice but Arizona pitcher Alyssa Denham said, “Not in my house” as she closed out the inning by striking out Brittany Finley.

The top of the second was a stark difference as Dejah Mulipola rocketed a shot over the right field wall and the Cats were on the board 1-0. Jacobsen settled down after the homer and set down the next three Arizona batters.

Ole Miss again got runners aboard and loaded the bases triggering a meeting at the circle to settle down Denham.

Denham calmly struck out Amanda Roth for the first out, but the bases remained loaded. Mikala Allee was the second victim of the whiff. Kylan Becker grounded hard to Hannah Bowen at second to end the threat and the Cats although playing with fire didn’t get burned.

Zona got a lone single from Palomino-Cardoza with two outs but couldn’t do anything with it.

After one out in the bottom of the inning, the Rebels evened the score when Autumn Gillespie homered to left field off of Denham.

The Rebels had been knocking at the door all game with Denham having runners on base in every inning.

In the fourth inning, the Malia Martinez and was forced out on a fielder’s choice with Mulipola now on first base. Rylee Pierce grounded out moving the runner to second. Then Arizona’s bats came alive as Reyna Carranco singled driving in Martinez and Mulipola to third base.

Hannah Bowen followed with a single to left field and took second base on a fielding error by the Rebel left fielder Tate Whitley.

When the dust settled, Carranco and Mulipola both scored on Mississippi errors. The Cats f0und themselves up 4-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth inning.

The foot was definitely on the pedal as M. Martinez, swinging on the first pitch hit a line drive shot ever the center filed wall to pour a little salt into the Rebel’s wound. Cats were now up 5-1 and Denham seemed to be back on track.

Ole Miss stats were comprable to the Wildcats with their five hits but they didn’t pull the trigger when the opportunity presented itself. Other than the fourth inning, the Rebels had runners on in every inning.

Again, Denham got herself into another jam in the bottom of the fifth inning. With runners at second and third, Gillespie hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Jessie Harper who threw out pinch runner Keisha Lofton at the plate which ignited the sell out crowd.

The Rebels again got nothing on another golden opportunity as Brittany Finley struck out with runners on second and third on a nasty change up.

The telltale sign of things to come was Ole Miss was 1-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners stranded, all but one in scoring position.

Mississippi was down to their last six outs in a game they would most  likely say, “What if?”

Zona shortstop Harper made all  three outs in the bottom of sixth, but it was the last ground ball she had to go towards first base, when she snagged the ball and thrusted it backhanded to Pierce with nice stretch  to that finished off the inning.

In the Cats final at bats, left fielder Carli Campbell used her speed to leg out an infield single and then Palomino-Cardoza sent a Jacobsen pitch out of Hillenbrand to the parking lot behind left center field.

Ole Miss changed pitchers to Ava Tillman with no outs in the inning, but Arizona wanted more and the pedal went down to the metal as Jessie Harper scored the Cats eighth run to in a foregone concluded game.

The Rebel’s wheels totally came off as Mulipola scored the ninth run and Zona punched their ticket to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series.

Today’s attendance was 2,835 which is the seventeenth largest crowd and the second highest post season crowd in Arizona Softball history.

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