Tide drops close game to No. 1 Arizona

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- The No. 15 ranked University of Alabama softball team ran into a buzz saw in Arizona pitcher Alicia Hollowell as the No. 1 ranked Arizona Wildcats defeated the Crimson Tide 3-2 to drop Bama to the loser's bracket of the 2003 Women's College World Series.

Hollowell (39-3) threw a complete game two-hitter while striking out 13 Alabama hitters en route to the win.

The Crimson Tide threatened to strike first drawing back-to-back walks from Stephanie VanBrakle and Lacy Prejean to lead off the second inning. Staci Ramsey sacrificed both runners to second and third but Arizona pitcher Alicia Hollowell retired the next two Alabama batters to get out of the jam.

The Wildcats jumped on top in the bottom of the third inning, loading the bases with no outs when Lovie Jung hit a two-run double in the right centerfield gap for a 2-0 lead. Wendy Allen hit a one-out grounder to second scoring Courtney Fossatti staking the Wildcats to a 3-0 lead.

Alabama got on the board in the top of the fifth inning with Ramsey leading off with a single down the left field line. The next three batters struck out, but a wild pitch on the third strike to Jackie Wilkins allowed her to reach first and sent Ramsey to second. Ashley Courtney then followed with a double down the right field line scoring both Ramsey and Wilkins cutting the Arizona lead to 3-2.

The two pitchers did not yield anymore offense the rest of the way. VanBrakle (18-6) took the loss, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out two batters.

"Like my good buddy Eugene Lenti (head coach DePaul) said, 'there's no such thing as a bad day at the World Series,'" said Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy. "Holding their offense down to three runs, I'm pleased."

Alabama will have Friday off from action and will return to play the loser of the Washington-Oklahoma game on Saturday at 11 a.m. to be televised on ESPN.


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