In the bottom of the fifth with No. 11 Arizona trailing No 6 Arkansas 1-0 with a runner on and one out, senior center fielder Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza blasted a two-run home run Saturday on her birthday over the left-field wall to give her team the lead.
Arizona (41-13) used the momentum to secure a 4-1 victory at Fayetteville, Ark., to advance to the Women’s College World Series for the 24th time in program history.
It’s the first time Arizona has won a road Super Regional since 2009, when the Wildcats won the final two games in a best-of-three series against Stanford.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 29, 2021
The home run for Palomino-Cardoza was her first since April 24, when she hit a three-run bomb in a 14-0 five-inning run-rule victory.
During Palomino’s six-year Arizona career, she has battled through two torn ACLs and an injury scare this season during the ASU road trip and now has hit the game-winning home run on her birthday. Here’s what she had to say about what this moment means to her and shared her thoughts on making the WCWS:
Arizona added to its lead in the sixth inning when former Tucson High grad and first baseman Carlie Scupin knocked in a two-run single to put the finishing touches on the Wildcats’ win.
The Wildcats offense struggled through the first four innings against Razorbacks pitcher Autumn Storms, who had a perfect game going until Arizona broke it up in the fifth.
The Wildcats’ lineup was able to get the clutch hits when they needed them the most in the fifth and sixth innings. Arizona hit 3-for-7 with runners on base as a team, while Arkansas went an underwhelming 1-for-12 in those situations.
Here’s Arkansas coach Courtney Deifel talking about her team’s performance and discussing what her seniors mean to the Razorbacks program:
Mike Candrea went with ground-ball pitcher Alyssa Denham in the circle against the home run-hitting Arkansas team.
Denham was able to go the distance on 112 pitches, giving up one run on four hits while stranding seven Razorbacks baserunners.
During the 2019 Super Regionals at Hillenbrand, it was Denham who led the team in the circle with a Game 2 win over Ole Miss to clinch a trip to the WCWS with a 9-1 win.
Here’s Candrea talking about his team advancing to the WCWS and discussing how Denham was able to keep the Arkansas offense off-balanced:
Here’s a postgame recap with Troy Hutchison and AZ Desert Swarm’s Ryan Kelapire after Arizona’s 4-1 victory and they share their thoughts on the Fayetteville Super Regional:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.