Arizona suffers agonizing defeat at home versus Baylor
Wildcats season closes with a 52-9 record, but one win shy of OKC
Arizona infielder Jessie Harper catches the ball as a Baylor player crosses the base during the softball game against Baylor on May 27 at Hillenbrand Stadium.
After Arizona took the lead 5-3 in the sixth inning at Hillenbrand Stadium, Shelby McGlaun of Baylor hit a three-run shot into centerfield that sent the No. 15 seed Bears to Oklahoma City and the No. 2 seed Wildcats home for the summer. Baylor won Sunday’s Super Regional finale 6-5 after a game that was largely unpredictable.
“I feel jipped, like I don’t want to take the jersey off,” said senior pitcher Danielle O’Toole. “I ‘ve spent two years in it and I feel ripped, and that’s not anyone’s fault. I didn’t think it would be the last time.”
After Baylor took a 3-1 lead, Arizona tied it up in the fifth at three after a single by Jessie Harper scored Mandie Perez. In the following top of the sixth, Baylor scored what seemed like the go-ahead run, only shortstop Taylor Ellis forgot to touch third base. Wildcats backup catcher Hillary Edior signaled to Arizona head coach Mike Candrea that Ellis had missed the bag and upon appeal the Wildcats were awarded with the third out, nullifying the go-ahead run.
“That was one of the greatest moments I’ve ever had out of the dugout,” Candrea said. “You know that’s what says a lot about this team. This team has been fun for me to come to work everyday. Most of the time you go through the year and you have some issues but this team didn’t have that.”
It seemed that the momentum had swung into UA’s favor.
In the bottom of the sixth the Wildcats scored two runs off of four hits and were three outs away from going to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. However, it wasn’t meant to be.
Taylor McQuillin came in for Danielle O’Toole in the seventh in hopes of throwing Baylor off enough to secure the win according to Candrea, instead, she gave up a lead-off double to Ari Hawkins, intentionally walked Shelby Friudenberg and the subsequent home run to McGlaun.
“Our pitching changes sure in the hell didn’t work this weekend,” Candrea said. “It was a staff decision, you know, you live with it.”
Arizona had a chance in the seventh as Tamara Statman drew a walk to open up the inning and was subbed out by Alexis Dotson for speed. On a passed ball, Dotson got a delayed start to second and catcher Sydney Christensen threw her out. The Wildcats would draw two more walks but were unable to capitalize after Nancy Bowling grounded out to end Arizona’s season.
Arizona ends the season at 52-9 and a Pac-12 Championship. Senior Katiyana Mauga fell just three home runs shy of tying the all-time home run mark but will leave as the Pac-12’s all-time home run queen.
“It’s just hard that we have to take this jersey off,” Mauga said. “Hey, this team wasn’t just us, there is young girls on this team that’s going to come up and be clutch and take this team to OKC.”
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