Arizona's Bill Rhinehart hit for the first postseason cycle in school history to lead the second-seeded Wildcats (42-15) to a 9-8 victory over No. 4-seed New Orleans (38-25) in the winner's bracket game at the Wichita Regional on Saturday.
Trailing 8-7 in the top of the eighth, C.J Ziegler smacked a hard-hit grounder down the third base line that careened off the glove of UNO third baseman T.J. Baxter and trickled into the outfield for a one-out double.
Rhinehart, who had singled in the third, doubled in the fourth and homered in the sixth, battled Privateer reliever Ryan O'Shea's to a full count before completing his second cycle in the last three weeks with a triple to the right field corner. The three-bagger plated Ziegler with the game-tying run and left Rhinehart standing just 90 feet away from handing Arizona its third lead of the game.
Sophomore Brad Glenn came through in the next at bat with a fly ball to left that was deep enough to reward Rhinehart with a trip home on the sacrifice and hand UA a 9-8 edge.
Softball: National Semi-Final. noon (CDT) vs. Washington (ESPN)
Should the Wildcats defeat the Huskies, the two teams will play for a berth in the Championship Series later that day at 6 p.m. (CDT) on ESPN2. Arizona defeated Washington two times in three games this year.
The Arizona softball team is headed to a WCWS semifinal after a 3-0 victory over DePaul, in an elimination game as part of the 2007 NCAA Division I Softball Championships.
The Wildcats used a two-hit shutout by Taryne Mowatt (38-11), who has yet to allow an earned run in 22 WCWS innings, to end the Blue Demons' season. Mowatt has pitched every inning of UA's eight postseason games and has allowed only five earned runs in 55 postseason innings.