OKLAHOMA CITY — Arizona led for most of the majority of the game Saturday against No. 10 Florida State but kept on coming up short with runners in scoring position at Hall of Fame Stadium.
That came back to haunt No. 11 Arizona (41-15) as the No. 3 Seminoles (45-11-1) with two outs in the sixth got a three-run home run from hitter Dani Morgan that barley went over the glove of leftfielder Janelle Meoño off of pitcher Mariah Lopez to take a late 3-2 lead.
Arizona’s Reyna Carranco was able to tie the game at 3, doubling up the middle and scoring Meoño from first, giving her team another opportunity.
In the next half-inning, Florida State was able to get runners on the corner with one out, and hitter Cassidy Davis hit a sac-fly to deep left field to eliminate the Wildcats 4-3 from the Women’s College World Series.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 5, 2021
Arizona jumped out to an early 2-0 after third baseman Malia Martinez hit a solo shot in the third to get the Wildcats on the board.
Here’s Martinez and Carranco talking about the game and discussing what coach Mike Candrea has meant to the team:
The Wildcats scored their second run from a sac-fly to left field hit by Carlie Scupin to score Dejah Mulipola from third, giving Arizona all the momentum.
However, the Wildcats struggled with runners in scoring position, going 2-for-8 in those situations. In the fifth were unable to come up with a run with the bases loaded and one out with Mulipola and Sharlize Palacios at the plate.
Mulipola lined out to first, putting a good swing on the ball but, it was hit right at the FSU first baseman, followed by Palacios groundout to the pitcher.
The Wildcats went with senior pitcher Alyssa Denham to start the game, and through the first three innings, she had the Seminoles’ offense off-balanced giving up just one hit while racking up eight groundball outs.
In the fourth is where it started to get away from Denham after getting two quick outs. After that, she gave up a single and back-to-back walks to load the bases.
That is when Lopez came in for relief and induced a pop-out on three pitches to center field to end the inning.
It was those two-out situations that came back to haunt Arizona in the long run. In the sixth inning, when Davis hit the home run, it came with two outs. The Seminoles went 2-for-8 in those situations, while Arizona went 1-for-8.
Arizona ends its season in the WCWS with the possibility Candrea retiring after 36 seasons of being the program’s head coach and driving force behind the its stature.
Candrea has won eight national titles and has helped grow the game of softball, taking the sports to heights that it hadn’t ever seen before.
Here’s Candrea talking about what his team means to him and discussed his future with the program:
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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.