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.