Tuesday, June 05, 2007

2007 WCWS Game 2

Wednesday night, for all the marbles!

Tennessee's last chance, as the Vols come up in the bottom of the tenth... Doepking strikes out... Alexia Clay comes up... and U of A throws away an apparently easy throw to first base on a routine grounder... One out, runner on first, pinch-hitter Anita Manuma steps to the plate... and strikes out... The Vols are down to their last out! Horiuchi up... grounds into a force at second. Game over! 1-0.

U of A's Sam Banister slides a line single to left... Bunted to second, one out... Callista Balko up (0-19 in the World Series) also bunts, and the first-baseperson drops the throw to her... Hard to tell, but she probably would have been out, in my view... First and third, one out, for Adrienne Acton... Danielle Rodriguez, inserted as a pinch-runner for Banister, scores from third on an infield grounder -- a very close play at the plate. The key is whether Rodriguez got her hand on the back of the plate, and the ump said "yes." Inning over, 1-0 Arizona, Abbott's scoreless inning streak in this World Series ends at 37 and 1/3, which I'm sure means nothing to Abbott at this point...

Posey leads off with a ground single to right for Tennessee. In previous innings, the team has had difficulty bunting. India Chiles comes up. There's probably no one better at placing the ball strategically... Chiles swings at a ball out of the strike zone (making the count 2-2), but the distraction perhaps is what allows Posey to steal second... Vol co-coach Ralph Weekly can't watch... Chiles strikes out... Schutzler coming up, Wildcats holding a committee meeting to decide whether to walk her, and it looks like they are... First and second, one out... How many times has Tennessee had this situation? Pat Summitt looks on intently.. Again, does Huff have the right stuff? Abbott, on the bench, looks very composed, laughing... Fly-out to left-center, well-hit, but no problem for Caitlin Lowe... Callahan comes up... Punched out looking on a high strike on a 3-2 pitch... We've finished nine innings and the 'Cats have shown nine lives!

Kristie Fox gets a one-out infield single to deep shortstop for the Wildcats... Jenae Leles stays alive with two strikes, fouling off a bunch of pitches, before grounding into a force-out of the runner going to second... A pop-up ends the inning...

Shannon Doepking with a lead-off single to right... The next batter (whose name I missed) pops up a bunt... The aforementioned Griffin comes up... and strikes out looking... Horiuchi, who's had a good game in the field, is now up... and is thrown out by the catcher on a very short grounder... To the ninth...

Abbott again nonchalantly retires the side in the eighth. Vol third-baseperson Jennifer Griffin makes a nice quick throw to first on a grounder to get the second out...

We're going to extra innings. Oh the drama, oh the humanity! The only thing that could be more exciting is if this were Game 3 instead of Game 2...

Bottom of the seventh coming up... Just one run stands between Tennessee and the NCAA national championship... The Vols' Kenora Posey is thrown out at firt attempting to bunt for a base-hit... India Chiles is up; can she do it again? No, she strikes out! Up comes Lindsay Schutzler... A solid single to right-center... Does Tiffany Huff have the right stuff? Whether she does or not, she's gotten a walk. First and second with two outs... Wildcat meeting on the mound, Tonya Callahan coming up. A well-placed hit to the outfield will do it, especially with the runners able to take off with two outs... Callahan flies to left...

U of A not going quietly in the top of the seventh , with a two-out walk... Abbott strikes out the next batter... She's not allowed a run in 35 innings pitched at this World Series!

Abbott sets a new record for strikeouts in a World Series, with 65, to end the top of the sixth. You may have noticed that I haven't been writing much about Arizona's at-bats. Well, as the ESPN announcers have pointed out, the Wildcats have not had a runner in scoring position since the second inning. Vols coming up... A walk to a Tennessee batter, but nothing else doing. We go to the seventh, 0-0...

I know this sounds like a recording, but Tennessee once again has runners on first and second with no outs, this time in the bottom of the fifth... And India Chiles has yet another hit, an infield hit loading the bases, still no outs... The hit brings Chiles's 2007 World Series average to .500... Force out at home on a grounder to the pitcher, one out, bases loaded... Pop-up for two outs... The pressure's really on Tonya Callahan to do something... A bloop out to shortstop, still no score.

It's the bottom of the fourth, and the Vols have runners on first and second with no outs. A walk and then a "safe" call at second when Mowatt tried to get the lead runner on a bunt have brought us to this point... However, a sharp grounder to U of A third-baseperson Jenae Leles results in a 5-3 double-play (stepping on the bag and then throwing to first)... The next batter grounds out... Still no score...

Tennessee shortstop Liane Horiuchi, whose name hasn't been called very often, has been having a nice game in the field. In the just-concluded top of the fourth, she made a nice grab of a hot line-drive off the bat of Kristie Fox. In the previous inning, she vacuumed up two grounders and threw out the runners...

The Vols' India Chiles, running with her torn ACL, beats out a bunt for an infield single with one out in the bottom of the third. The next batter is retired on a fly-out, so there are now two outs... and make it three, with Mowatt striking out Tiffany Huff after falling behind 3-0 in the count... Still no score...

Now it's Tennessee threatening in the bottom of the second, with runners at first and second and one out. The runners have come from a walk and bloop hit to center. There's a lot of talk about how Wildcat pitcher Taryne Mowatt has a blister at the end of one of her fingers on her pitching hand... In a mirror image of the top of the inning, Mowatt gets two straight K's to end the inning...

Arizona has a bit of a threat going in the top of the second, with runners on first and second and one out. Tennessee -- behind pitcher Monica Abbott -- has not allowed a run during the entire World Series...

Lady Vol basketball coach Pat Summitt was just shown in the stands. Did I call it or did I call it? (See my Pregame Thoughts from yesterday, below.)

Getting back to the Arizona threat, Abbott strikes out two in a row (for five overall), putting an end to the Wildcat rally.