Cats fall in pitchers' duel

It was the rookies against the old pros. Arizona, the six time NCAA champions were making their 16th appearance in the College Softball World Series, but it was the first-timers who managed the win. Thanks to aggressive base running and a throwing error, Tennessee upset Arizona in a pitchers' duel to open the event.

The Cats were ranked third in the nation coming in, but the 11th ranked Volunteers did not think it was much of an upset.

"We just came out and played our game," said All-American center fielder Sarah Fekete. "We can beat anyone when we play our game."

Tennessee got on the board in the sixth. Tonya Callahan drew a two-out walk and was promptly replaced by pinch runner Ashley Cline. The next batter Katherine Card singled to right. With Cline sprinting to third right fielder Adrienne Acton tried to get the ball into first, but the low throw skirted past Crystal Farley at first and had to be fielded by catcher Jackie Colburn. Cline saw an opportunity and headed home. Coburn's throw was on time to pitcher Alicia Hollowell who was covering the plate, but Cline slid under the tag for the go ahead run.

In the circle Hollowell had her A-game. The junior scattered four hits, while striking out 12.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats Tennessee's Monica Abbott. Abbott, who was perfect through 4 2/3, wound up with a one hitter. She too struck out 12, walking none.

For the Volunteers it was their first appearance in the College World Series. They may have been rookies, but they did not show it.

"I think everyone in that first inning was feeling a little nervous," Abbott told ESPN.

Abbott is 6-0 in the NCAA Tournament, with all six wins being complete game shutouts. Hollowell dropped to 30-8, with seven of the losses coming when the Wildcats

Callista Balko was the lone Wildcat to reach base with her fifth inning single. Wildcat lead-off hitter Caitlin Lowe was 0-3, snapping a 14-game hitting streak.

Note: Wildcat center fielder Lowe was named a first team All-American immediately after the game.

The Cats drop to the loser bracket and will face the loser of the Cal/UCLA game Friday at 7:00 CDT.

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