Arizona softball and baseball 2017 season wraps up
Arizona infielder Jessie Harper makes a catch as a Baylor runner crosses first base during a game on May 27 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona was eliminated by Baylor, preventing them from making the Women's College World Series for the seventh consecutive season.
It was a historic season for Arizona softball with many memorable highs and lows. The Wildcats finished their season with a 52-9 record and were only one win shy from heading to the Women’s College World Series.
During the season, the Wildcats made their way into the record books as they won their first Pac-12 Championship in ten years by defeating the UCLA Bruins 7-2. Arizona finished the regular season with an 18-6 record in the Pac-12 conference. Winning the championship advanced the team to their 31st consecutive NCAA tournament, a new collegiate softball record.
Arizona hosted the NCAA Super Regional at Hillenbrand Stadium against the Baylor Bears. The Wildcats had hoped that their home field would provide an advantage in the three-game series, and after defeating Baylor 3-2 in the first matchup, they were only one win away from reaching the Women’s College World Series.
Baylor, however, won the second game 6-4, forcing a third and decisive game. During that final nail-biting contest, the Wildcats were unable to punch their ticket to the Women’s College World Series as the Bears took the victory 6-5.
Senior Katiyana Mauga fell three runs short of tying the all-time season home run record, but made her mark by leading the Pac-12 with 25 home runs.
After Arizona’s softball season came to an end, the Wildcat baseball team also found its postseason cut short, falling to Sam Houston State’s Bearkats 9-3 Sunday, June 4, at Rip Griffin Park’s Dan Law Field.
The Wildcats made their 39th NCAA Tournament appearance and were the only Pac-12 school to attend two years in a row.
Arizona got off to a rough start by losing to Sam Houston State in the regional opener 5-4. Senior left-handed pitcher JC Cloney made his final appearance for the Wildcats during the first game of regionals, throwing for seven innings and giving up five runs to the Bearkats.
Sam Houston State crossed the plate early, but the Cats were able to tie the game 1-1 in the fourth inning. The Bearkats broke the tie in the sixth, leaving the Wildcats with a three-run deficit.
Arizona’s offense responded by adding three more runs to the board but came up short, leaving Sam Houston State with the first win of regionals.
Arizona went on to play Delaware in a crucial game and was able to defeat the Blue Hens 6-5 after 12 innings. Hoping to stay alive after defeating Delaware, Arizona faced another matchup with Sam Houston State, however the Wildcats were unable to continue their journey on the road to Omaha, as the Bearkats won 9-3.
Arizona baseball finished the season with an overall record of 38-21 and with a record of 16-14 in the Pac-12 conference. The Wildcats dominated the conference offensively, earning an overall batting average of .308.
Junior JJ Matijevic led the Pac-12 with a batting average of .387 to go with a .643 slugging percentage, 91 hits, 64 RBIs and 30 doubles.
The Arizona softball and baseball teams are now looking forward to the upcoming 2018 season.
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