Tuesday, June 08, 2010

2010 WCWS Game 2


The board above says it all. UCLA is this year's NCAA champion, giving Kelly Inouye-Perez her first title as head coach. Arizona added a late run, but it was nowhere near enough. UCLA needed a huge amount of luck to win Game 1, but tonight, the Bruins' pitching depth played a decisive role. Megan Langenfeld, who never was needed in the circle tonight, along with Aleah Macon (4 1/3 innings) and Donna Kerr (2 2/3), gave UCLA three top-shelf pitchers for the postseason. Not to mention how Langenfeld, coming off last night's walk-off homer, added a two-run blast in the top of the first tonight.

Meanwhile Wildcat frosh Kenzie Fowler, who pitched heroically for much of the tournament, just didn't have it tonight, and U of A's relief corps couldn't do much, either. Fowler's line in the box score tonight read:

1 inning pitched, 2 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 9 batters faced, 3 walks,1 homer, and 1 hit batter.

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Below are postings I made during the game (of which I missed the first few innings).

UCLA adds a homer in the top of the sixth, making it 15-6. Chambers adds another two-run shot in the bottom half: 15-8 Bruins.

Wildcat slugger Stacie Chambers homers to left with a runner on, making it 14-6 Bruins.

ESPN announcer Beth Mowins delivers a key bit of information: There is no run-rule in the championship series. Otherwise, Arizona would be down to its final three outs, needing three runs to get the deficit below eight runs.

Just when it looked like Arizona might make a game of it, UCLA explodes for seven runs in the top of the fifth -- helped by seven consecutive hits -- to make it 14-4.

We're in the bottom of the fourth, with Arizona having scored three times to cut a 7-1 UCLA lead to 7-4. The Wildcats are still threatening, with runners on first and third and nobody out. UCLA has removed Megan Langenfeld from first base to send her out to the bullpen, as Aleah Macon struggles for the Bruins... Macon gets the side out, however, so it remains 7-4.

Monday, June 07, 2010

2010 WCWS Game 1


Langenfeld, who gave up the back-to-back homers to Arizona in the top of the seventh, homers with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to win it for UCLA -- her second homer of the game! I'm not much into premonitions, but you just kind of "knew" Langenfeld was going to homer in that last at-bat.

Macon, cool as ice, strikes out Chambers with the bases loaded to get UCLA out of a jam. Still 5-5, with the Bruins coming up in the bottom of the eighth.

UCLA, trailing 5-4 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, is kept alive by a Wildcat fielding faux pas. A not-so-hard fly ball lands between Lastrapes in left and Lauren Schutzler in center, and the Bruin batter gets to second when the fielders collide. U of A intentionally walks the next batter. Arizona's right-fielder Karissa Buchanan can't hang onto a hard-hit ball to right, tying the game!!! We go to extras...

Arizona ties it 4-4 in the top of the seventh on a K'Lee Arredondo two-run homer. Stacie Chambers follows with a homer of her own, 5-4 Cats. That one went well beyond the bleachers to straightaway center. Still nobody out. UCLA replaces Langenfeld (moving her to first-base) with Aleah Macon, who retires Arizona with no further damage. Bruins down to their last three outs.

This time, it's the Wildcats who have a threat denied. Langenfeld strikes out Lastrapes with two out and a runner on third in the top of the sixth. UCLA's Monica Harrison hits a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the inning that barely -- and I mean barely -- catches the left-field foul-line. Bruins lead 4-2.

Arizona stages a two-out rally to tie the game, 2-2, in the top of the 5th. UCLA wastes a second-and-third/one-out situation in its half.

Thanks to some sloppy Wildcat defense, UCLA now leads 2-1 after 3 innings. The Bruins' GiOnna DiSalvatore hit a deep drive to left, which the Wildcats' Brittany Lastrapes got a glove on, but couldn't hold. The play was ruled a hit, as I think it should have been, but with Lastrapes's defensive prowess, I think most observers would have expected her to catch the ball. A passed ball/wild pitch (I'm not sure which) advanced DiSalvatore to third, where she scored on a single by Langenfeld.

It's 1-1 after 1. Arizona took advantage of two walks from UCLA pitcher Megan Langenfeld to rally for a run, but then Langenfeld homered in the Bruin half of the inning.

Pregame note: The teams met just a few weeks ago, in a Pac 10 series in Tucson. UCLA took two-of-three, but Wildcat pitching standout Kenzie Fowler saw very little action in those games.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

My apologies for the lack of updates toward the end of Sunday night's action. Blogger.com, which I use for my blogs, went down Sunday night and the situation wasn't corrected until Monday afternoon.

Arizona defeated Tennessee, 5-2, in the teams' second game of the day, and will face UCLA in the best two-of-three championship series, starting tomorrow night. The Wildcats' K'Lee Arredondo hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to pad what had been a 3-2 lead. The Vols continue to be snake-bit against Arizona, being eliminated by the Wildcats in 2006, 2007, and 2010. Below are some postings I made during the game.

Bottom 5: Arizona has scratched out a run to take a 3-2 lead.

Bottom 3: Wildcats get a two-run homer to tie things up, 2-2.

Heading to Bottom 3: Tennessee puts together a little two-out rally, making it 2-0 Vols.

Top 2: Arizona left-fielder Brittany Lastrapes makes one of the nicest catches you'll see in a long time, on a deep fly ball to left-center. Look for it on YouTube! Tennessee had a runner on second who apparently didn't think the ball would be caught and ran toward home -- she was easily doubled off second. The Vols' next two hitters got a double and walk, respectively, but a strikeout ends the threat.

It's 1-0 Vols, as Arizona walks in a run in the top of the first. In the bottom of the first, Tennessee does something it couldn't do in the previous game -- get out of a jam unscathed.

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Arizona has posted an 8-0 run-rule victory over Tennessee in the teams' first Sunday match-up, turning the tables on what the Vols did to the Wildcats on opening day of the World Series. The Vol offense, which had been a juggernaut for much of the postseason, didn't even get a hit until the fifth inning.

Early in Arizona's first Sunday game against Tennessee, the Wildcats benefited yet again from a bizarre baserunning situation involving its opponent (see also yesterday's write-up of Arizona vs. Washington). The Vols had the bases loaded with one out in a scoreless game. The batter hit an easy pop-up in front of the plate, for which the home-plate umpire immediately called the infield fly-rule. The rule automatically makes the batter out and ends the play, so that the defense cannot intentionally drop the ball and easily force out at the next base a runner who has stayed close to her present base. Arizona dropped the ball anyway and Tennessee's runner on second, apparently confused by the situation, started running to third and was easily thrown out. The whole intent of the infield fly-rule is to prevent such confusion, but the Vols still got in trouble, ending what turned out to be their last serious scoring threat with the game still competitive.

UCLA made it to the championship series with a 5-2 win over Georgia in today's first action. The Bruins used a combination of power-hitting and defense to pull if off.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Arizona has defeated Hawai'i tonight, 5-1, to send the Rainbow Wahine home and propel the Wildcats into the semifinals on Sunday against Tennessee. U-of-A needs to knock off Tennessee twice to make the championship round, whereas one win will suffice for the Volunteers. The first (and possibly only) Arizona-Tennessee game will begin around 2:30 Central, following the first (and possibly only) UCLA-Georgia contest. Fans will recall that in Arizona's two most recent runs to the World Series title, the Wildcats fended off tough challenges from the Vols both times, in the 2006 semifinals and the 2007 championship round.

In today's next-to-last game, Georgia dismissed Florida from the tournament, 3-2. The Bulldogs take on UCLA Sunday at noon Central. Georgia must beat UCLA twice to make the championship series, whereas the Bruins need only to beat the Bulldogs once.

Defending NCAA champion Washington is washed up, having lost an elimination game this afternoon to Arizona, 4-3. Neither teams' defensive units (who combined for five errors), nor the umpires, covered themselves in glory in this one.

One play in particular was when Washington baserunner Jenn Salling, with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Huskies trailing 3-1, was called out for an apparent technical violation to end the inning. Salling had advanced to third on an infield grounder, apparently leaving U-Dub with runners on first and third. However, Salling went a few steps past third toward home, during which time Arizona had thrown the ball back to the pitcher in the circle. In what I (someone who has not had technical training in the softball rulebook) would interpret as an extension of the rule forbidding baserunners from taking lead-offs while the pitcher has the ball, Salling appeared to be called out for not immediately returning to third once the ball was with the pitcher. Salling did appear to be walking back toward third, but evidently not fast enough. We have no way of knowing, of course, whether Washington would have scored any runs even if Salling had been allowed to stay at third. There were two outs, after all. Still, it's a hard way to end an inning.

Missouri was the first team to be eliminated from the Women's College World Series, falling 5-0 to Florida.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Tennessee holds off a late Georgia rally to win 7-5 in tonight's nightcap.

No late-inning magic for Hawai'i in tonight's session opener against UCLA. Bruins win 5-2.

Tomorrow is the famous "Survival Saturday," with games entirely in the losers' bracket. Missouri-Florida at 11:00 AM Central starts things off, followed by Arizona-Washington. Georgia and Hawai'i wait in the wings.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The nightcap of Day 1 of the Women's College World Series, a battle of the dogs, goes to the Georgia Bulldogs over the defending champion Washington Huskies, 6-3.

Fans attending the World Series are getting shortchanged of innings of softball! We've now had our second straight run-rule game, this one lasting five innings, as Tennessee has shut out Arizona, 9-0.

UCLA has routed Florida, 16-3, in a run-rule-shortened six-inning contest. The Bruins have now taken three straight games by run-rule, going back to their two games in the super-regionals.

Just as it did in the super-regional clincher, Hawai'i has used a seventh-inning home-run to defeat Missouri, 3-2, in the opener of the Women's College World Series. Traci Yoshikawa nailed a two-run blast to give the Rainbow Wahine what proved to be the winning margin.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

ESPN.com's Graham Hays previews the Women's College World Series, which starts tomorrow. The first-round match-ups in the double-elimination event, with starting times (Eastern), are as follows:

Missouri vs. Hawai'i (1:00)
UCLA vs. Florida (3:30)
Arizona vs. Tennessee (7:00)
Georgia vs. Washington (9:30)