OKLAHOMA CITY — Arizona shortstop Jessie Harper blasted career home run 92 in the seventh inning to tie to school record set by Katiyana Mauga, but unfortunately for the No. 11 Wildcats, that was the only offense they got in a 5-1 loss Thursday to No. 3 Alabama in an opening round game of the Women’s College World Series here.
This chart shows how close Harper is to the career record held by Oklahoma’s Lauren Chamberlain:
NCAA Softball Home Run Career List
The Wildcats (40-14) are now the loser’s bracket, where they will face Florida State on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN.
Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts tossed a complete-game shutout and kept the Wildcats (41-14) off-balanced, striking out 16 batters on 103 pitches and giving up two hits in a dominating start.
Here’s Harper and Janelle Meoño talking about the offense against Fouts and discussing what needs adjusted come Saturday:
Pitcher Hanah Bowen got the start for the Wildcats, making her first career Women’s College World Series start.
The first run Bowen gave up was on an error in the outfield by Meoño which allowed the runner from second to score on a single hit to left. The second run came on a Bailey Hemphill home run in the third to give Alabama (51-7) the early 2-0 lead.
Bowen went four innings on 71 pitches giving up two runs on four hits before being relieved in the fifth by Alyssa Denham.
Denham looked effective against the Alabama lineup through 1 2/3 innings of work. But, with two outs in the sixth, the Crimson Tide offense posted three runs on three hits to put the nail in the coffin.
During Denham’s two innings of work, she gave up three runs on three hits while collecting one strikeout on 34 pitches.
Arizona’s offense was able to get one rally going in the fourth when Meoño led off the inning with a hit. The next batter was second baseman Reyna Carranco who appeared to get on base from an error but was called out due to stepping out of the batter’s box on the play.
Here’s coach Mike Candrea talking about his team’s offense and discussing how they can bounce back after a tough loss:
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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.