Arizona softball game notes: Wildcats hold off late LSU run
Fresh off a win Friday in the opening game of the 2014 NCAA Tucson Regional, the Arizona softball team held off a late run from the LSU Tigers (36-23) on Saturday to secure their second straight postseason win. The Tigers scored three runs in the seventh inning but failed to close the gap in the 9-8 Arizona victory.
After the game, Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said he’s proud his team withstood the furious LSU comeback attempt.
“We knew LSU was going to keep throwing punches,” Candrea said. “I’m really pleased with our team because they kept responding and I think the biggest play was the last play.”
The play Candrea referenced occurred with an LSU runner on second base and one out in the top of the seventh inning and Arizona (43-13) holding a slim 9-8 lead. Arizona shortstop Kellie Fox overthrew a routine ground ball to first base and was saved by a remarkable catch from Arizona utility Hallie Wilson at first base.
Wilson tagged the runner and immediately threw to Arizona third baseman Lauren Young, who tagged the advancing LSU runner to end the game. It short, it was exactly how Candrea drew it up.
The Wildcats take the field next tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. and will face the winner of today’s LSU and Boston University matchup. The game can be seen on ESPN2 and in person at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium.
“I think we have a little more of an advantage because right now we’re winning,” senior pitcher Estela Piñon said. “We’ll try to stay healthy, get stretched out and go through an ice cold bath.”
After not hitting any home runs in Friday’s matchup against Boston University, the Wildcats came out swinging on Saturday. Arizona used three home runs against LSU to increase their NCAA lead in long balls to 103.
Two of the three home runs came from the bat of lead-off hitter Hallie Wilson. The junior utility player hit an inside the park three-run home run in the second inning before adding an out of the park three-run home run in the fifth inning.
In all, Wilson drove in six of Arizona’s nine runs and said this is exactly what she needed to get out of her recent slump.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit at the plate… I’m just trying to get my groove back,” Wilson said. “Everything feels good again.”
Hosting Super Regionals?
As the 11th seed in the 2014 NCAA Softball Tournament, Arizona is not scheduled to host super regionals. However, there is a possibility to change that.
If Arizona advances out of the Tucson Regional, the sixth seeded Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns are scheduled to host the next round. Louisiana-Lafayette plays Texas tomorrow in a rematch between the same two teams from Saturday.
The Longhorns lost 3-2 to the Ragin’ Cajuns in an extremely competitive game that easily could’ve gone Texas’ way.
If Texas upsets Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday, Arizona would be the higher seed and thus would host the super regionals round.