NOTES FROM WHAT IF GAME
Game 12: Arizona 8, Tennessee 0 (5 innings)
- After losing its first game of the Women’s College World Series to Tennessee in five innings by a 9-0 score, Arizona returned the favor with an 8-0 five-inning win over the Lady Vols in today’s semifinals action.
- Arizona improved to 60-30 all-time in the WCWS and to 142-41 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
- Tennessee dropped to 5-4 all-time against Arizona in the WCWS and to 12-7 all-time in WCWS action.
- Wildcats sophomore Karissa Buchanan went 3-for-3 at the plate and is 7-for-10 in four WCWS games with five runs and two RBI. Buchanan collected her fifth and sixth RBIs of the season with a double in the fifth inning.
- Arizona junior Brittany Lastrapes is 8-for-13 at the plate at the WCWS with five runs and two RBI. She was 3-for-4 in the game, giving her 30 multi-hit game (the most of any Wildcat this season).
- Arizona’s pitching staff combined to only allow two hits in the contest. Freshman pitcher Kenzie Fowler improved to 37-7 by throwinig four hitless innings. She was replaced by senior Sarah Akamine before the fifth inning. Akamine gave up two hits and struck out one.
- Fowler has accumulated a WCWS-high 29 strikeouts through four contests (21.0 innings).
- The Wildcats have shut out their opponents 23 times this season, three times in the NCAA tournament. They also picked up their 28th victory via the mercy rule.
- Tennessee freshman pitcher Ivy Renfroe started the contest and gave up three runs in 2.2 innings of work. She surrendered four hits while striking out five in falling to 31-5 on the year.
- Tennessee sophomore Cat Hosfield pitched in her first game of the WCWS in relief of Renfroe. Hosfield recorded 2.1 innings, surrendering five hits and five runs (all earned). She struck out one Arizona batter.
- The game marked just the fifth time this year and first since a 10-6 loss to Georgia on March 20 that Tennessee allowed at least eight runs in a contest.
- The Lady Vols were shut out for only the third time this season (last time was on May 8 against LSU).
- The defeat marked Tennessee’s worst in WCWS history.
Game 13: Arizona 5, Tennessee 2
- Arizona (52-12) advances to the WCWS championship game/series for the 13th time in school history and for the first time since 2007. The Wildcats are 8-4 in championship games/series and have won three titles in their last four trips to the finals (last title came in 2007).
- Arizona is the first team to lose its opening game of the WCWS and bounce back from the losers’ bracket to advance to the championship finals since 1992. That 1992 team was Arizona and it eventually lost to UCLA in the title game.
- Tennessee (49-15) dropped to 5-5 all-time against Arizona in the WCWS and to 12-8 overall in WCWS action. This marks the third time in the last five years Tennessee had its season ended by Arizona in the WCWS (also in 2006 in the semifinals and 2007 in the championship finals).
- Arizona is now 61-30 all-time in the WCWS and 143-41 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
- Wildcat catcher Stacie Chambers hit her second home run of the NCAA tournament and first of the WCWS in the third inning with a two-run shot over the left field fence. She has four multi-RBI games in NCAA tournament play and 21 multi-RBI games on the year.
- Arizona sophomore Lini Koria moved to first base from the designated player spot to start the fourth inning. It marked the first time Koria played first base in her collegiate career.
- Arizona freshman Brigette Del Ponte picked up only her second hit of the WCWS with an RBI single in the fifth inning to give Arizona a 3-2 lead.
- Arizona senior shortstop K’Lee Arredondo hit her seventh home run of the season and first of the NCAA tournament with her two-run blast in the sixth to give the Wildcats a 5-2 advantage.
- Arredondo’s home run marked the 24th home run of this year’s WCWS (all teams), tying the record set last season.
- Brittany Lastrapes doubled in her first at-bat in all three of Arizona’s games against Tennessee in this year’s WCWS.
- Lastrapes (10-for-17) and teammate Karissa Buchanan (9-for-13) have combined to go 19-for-30 (.633) at the plate with 10 runs, four RBI and five doubles in five WCWS games.
- Arizona freshman pitcher Kenzie Fowler recorded the complete-game win to move to 38-7 on the year. She surrendered two earned runs on six hits while striking out eight. Fowler has a WCWS-high 37 strikeouts in her five appearances. She owns a 2.00 ERA in her 28.0 innings pitched.
- Tennessee designated player Melissa Brown made her first start of the NCAA tournament tonight.
- Freshman Ivy Renfroe took the loss for the Lady Vols and fell to 31-6 on the year. She surrendered five runs (all earned) on 12 hits in 6.0 innings. She struck out six and finished the WCWS with a 4.40 ERA and 27 punchouts in 20.2 innings of work.
- None of this year’s 13 WCWS games have gone to extra innings. The last eight WCWS have had at least two extra-innings contests.
- This year’s WCWS has attracted 49,977 fans through seven sessions. The 7,140-per-session average is on pace to shatter the record of 6,724 set last year. The 49,977 attendance figure is already the fourth largest in WCWS history. At least two sessions remain to break the record of 62,463 set in 2007.
Looking Ahead to the Championship Finals…
- Arizona is 8-5 all-time against UCLA in WCWS action.
- Arizona and UCLA have met six times in the WCWS championship game/finals, with Arizona winning four of those titles. The Wildcats and Bruins last met in the WCWS championship game in 2001 (Arizona won 1-0).
- This will mark the 12th time in WCWS history that Pac-10 foes have gone head-to-head in the championship game/finals (the last time was 2004 when UCLA defeated California 3-1).
- Twenty-seven of the 29 WCWS championship games/finals have featured a Pac-10 team. The Pac-10 owns 21 national championships.
- UCLA has won 10 WCWS titles and Arizona has won eight.
HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA
“Wow, that’s it. Just an outstanding performance; gutsy, tenacious, whatever you want to call it. For the last two days it has just been a grind. We told them it’s going to take it one step at a time. You’ve got to climb a mountain, but you are capable of doing it. The big thing was having fun. I thought this team really loosened up a little and started having fun, started playing the game the way they are capable of. Today was a good example. I think we had a really good team effort, crucial plays that you need at this time of year. One was a sacrifice bunt by (Stacie) Chambers, which I thought was a huge time of the game. What do you say about Kenzie (Folwer) and her performance? I don’t know many freshmen that can go through what she has, and she gave us an opportunity to win. We could go down the line: great catch by (Brittany) Lastrapes, kind of turned the tide a little bit in the game. There are all sorts of things that happen in games like this. I am just very, very proud of this group. We talked about getting where we want to get, and we are not there yet. We’ve done what we need to do to get into the championship series and get to play an opponent that we know very well. It is going to come down to who is going to execute the game. So we are excited.”
On how much the sport has changed since 1991 when Arizona won its first national title:
“Oh gosh, tremendously. I think the ’96 Olympic games was kind of the first boost our sport got, and when we got television involved. It has really helped grow this event. You look at it right now; it is a very, very exciting event because I think people are starting to identify Oklahoma City with the College World Series. I think the game has changed tremendously. Back then it was a white ball, white seams, aluminum bats, and now we have a composite bat that I think has kind of changed the complexity of the game a little bit. Overall, it still comes down, at this stage, to getting great pitching performances, playing great defense and doing little things it takes to win. I think this sport is in great hands right now. I feel it is going to do nothing but get bigger and bigger and bigger.”
On if this is like old times with Arizona playing UCLA for the title:
“You know, I guess it is like old times. But we had to beat some very good teams to get here. I know coming in, a little bit of the motivation is the hype about the SEC. And the SEC is a very good conference, but we still believe that the Pac-10 can still hold its own. So it’s kind of fun right now to culminate with two Pac-10 teams, kind of like a rehearsal.”
ARIZONA FRESHMAN PITCHER KENZIE FOWLER
On if she found a groove today:
“The last two days have definitely been a grind. I wouldn’t say that I found a groove, I would just say I was kind of grinding it out. Yeah I was tired, but who really cares? (Our) defense played awesome today. As long as you can keep the game where we have a chance to win, I think our team has a good chance. Long two days but it was really fun.”
ARIZONA JUNIOR CATCHER STACIE CHAMBERS
On her third-inning two-run home run that gave Arizona a 2-0 lead:
“I was just trying to be relaxed. I had been real tense, the whole time pretty much. I made sure that I was relaxed today and I was just seeing good pitches. I made a couple of adjustments and they worked. And I’m glad they did because it helped us out a lot. ”
ARIZONA SENIOR SHORTSTOP K’LEE ARREDONDO
On what she was thinking before her two-run home run in the sixth:
“I guess I wasn’t thinking. My main thing was to get on base, to get something going. We needed some more runs for Kenz (Kenzie Fowler). It’s a comfort thing when you have more runs on your back. It feels good. She (Ivy Renfroe) threw me the same pitch I got the hit before. It looked like a riseball inside or a high fastball, I’m not too sure.”
TENNESSEE CO-HEAD COACH RALPH WEEKLY
“First of all, congratulations to Arizona. They beat us. They beat us in every phase today and they deserve the wins. Our kids fought and I never saw them lay down. I wasn’t disappointed in them at all. Just today, Arizona was better and that’s what happened. I am tremendously proud and I just told our kids I don’t think anybody expected us finishing fifth in the SEC to get to this position. But what I am more proud of is this team never gave us any problems the entire season; absolutely none. They were great students and they’re just great student-athletes. I told them that they were the best group, as a whole, that me and (co-head coach) Karen (Weekly) have ever coached. And (I) care about each and every one of them. I know they’re hurting now, especially the seniors, but that’s what softball is all about. To finish third in the country, or tied for third, is not what we wanted, but it was more than we thought we’d get three or four weeks ago.”
On if Arizona pitcher Kenzie Fowler changed her approach as the day went on:
“I didn’t notice it if she was. I thought she did an excellent job. I thought our kids attacked. I didn’t see much different in Kenzie today than I did the other day. I just see a toughness in her, the same as I see a toughness in our kids. I think when you get to this level, every athlete out on that field is tough.”
On the frustration of Arizona ending Tennessee’s season at the WCWS three times in the last five years:
“Like I told you, it goes back to 1993 when Mike and I coached the U.S. team together for years. And I’ve known him for a long time and he’s a great coach. You know, I don’t know why it happens. We’re 5-and-5 against Arizona in the World Series, I think you can check the stats on that. But they won the two that counted the most. I don’t think it’s a fact that we can’t win the big one, I just think it’s a fact that today they just played better. Our kids were loose when we came to the game. They weren’t uptight and they were ready to play. I just can’t address that other thing except I’m hoping that we’ll get to play them again in the future and maybe someday when it counts we’ll come out on top.”
TENNESSEE SENIOR FIRST BASEMAN ERINN WEBB
On how Tennessee finished this year now that her career is over:
“I think we shocked a lot of people. This team is not some team. We gave it our all. We gave up everything we had. We played with heart, we played with passion. It was a lot of fun, and this is a good way to end my career at the College World Series. And I’m very grateful to my teammates and my coaches.”
TENNESSEE FRESHMAN SECOND BASEMAN LAUREN GIBSON
On her strong performance today:
“Today — I know this sounds kind of dumb — but I played for my seniors and my team. Today was all about my team and I just wanted to do good for them. So I went out there and did the best that I could.”
TENNESSEE SOPHOMORE THIRD BASEMAN JESSICA SPIGNER
On how quickly she’ll be able to look ahead to next year:
“I’m not going to look on it too quick. I’m going make the most of these last few moments that we have with our team this year and just look back on a great time we had together and really cherish them.”