Cook shoots Softball into Judi Garman Classic Championship
FULLERTON, Calif. -- For the second game in a row, Rachael Cook proved to be the hero for the fourth-ranked Texas Softball team as her ninth-inning, two-out single plated Desiree Williams to lift the Longhorns over top-ranked Arizona, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Judi Garman Classic on Sunday morning.
The Longhorns will face the winner of the No. 18 Texas A&M-No. 14 Washington semifinal, which immediately follows the Texas-Arizona game. The championship game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. CST. Live stats will be available at TexasSports.com.
Cat Osterman (18-1) threw a complete-game one-hitter against the Wildcats, collecting 19 strikeouts with one walk in the victory. Tayrne Mowatt (12-2) took the loss after entering in the sixth inning. She gave up one run on two hits while striking out three and walking four, including intentional walks of Williams and Tina Boutelle in extra innings.
Standing in with two outs, the bases loaded, and facing a 3-2 pitch, Cook sent a single into shallow left center that allowed Williams to cross the plate for the game-winning run. On Saturday, Cook launched a sixth-inning solo home run that broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Longhorns a 6-5, come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame in the quarterfinals, setting up the Texas-Arizona match-up.
With the victory, Texas (30-3) earned its fourth win against the Wildcats in the teams' last five meetings. Arizona (26-3) dropped its third-straight extra-inning game to the Longhorns, also losing 10- and 11-inning games in 2005. The two teams also met in the Judi Garman Classic - then called the Kia Klassic - in 2005 in pool play with the fifth-ranked Longhorns taking a 1-0, 10-inning victory over the then top-ranked Wildcats.
Osterman and Arizona All-American Alicia Hollowell matched each other pitch for pitch through the game's first five innings, both throwing no-hitters and allowing only one baserunner apiece. However, in the bottom of the sixth, MicKayla Padilla's liner up the middle hit Hollowell in the face, sending her to the ground in pain. After a few minutes surrounded by Arizona coaches and athletic training staff, she walked off the field and was taken to a local hospital.
U of A's Taryne Mowatt entered the game immediately to pitch, and Boutelle broke up the Wildcats' no-hitter with a two-out bunt single. Shannon Thomas then took a pitch off the forearm to put runners on first and second, but the Longhorns were unable to capitalize as Williams' fly ball was caught deep in right center, just shy of the warning track.
After Chelsie Mesa broke up Osterman's no-hitter with a two-out bloop double in the seventh inning, Osterman came back and struck out Jenae Leles to end the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Megan Willis looked to have the game won for the Horns when she sent a deep fly ball to right center, but Wildcat right fielder Adrienne Acton caught the ball against the fence to retire Willis. And while Kacie Gaskin drew a two-out walk to give the Horns another baserunner, Mowatt got Cook to strike out to end the inning, sending the game into the eighth where the game would be decided by the international tie breaker (the last batter of the previous inning is placed on second base and the hitting team has three outs to bring her home).
In the eighth inning with Leles placed on second for the Wildcats, Laine Roth laid down a sacrifice bunt that would have moved Leles over to third with one out. However, Leles never ran and stayed on second and Osterman ended the inning by striking out both Sam Banister and Calista Balco.
In the bottom of the eighth with Cook on second, Crystal Saenz popped up a bunt and Padilla struck out for two outs. Mowatt intentionally walked Boutelle to get to Thomas, who ended the inning by popping up down the left field line where U of A's Kristie Fox made the putout.
Osterman took over in the top of the ninth, striking out all three left-handed slappers in the Arizona lineup - Acton, Caitlin Lowe and Autumn Champion - while Balco was stranded second.
In the bottom of the frame, Texas had the heart of the lineup up to bat with Thomas placed on second base. Mowatt intentionally walked Williams, but then cleared Thomas off the basepaths when she took Amber Hall's sacrifice bunt and got Thomas at third. Willis then drew a walk to load the bases with one out, but Gaskin struck out for the second out of the inning. Cook then stepped in and worked the count full before sending the game-winning hit into the outfield to hand the game to the Longhorns.
Before leaving the game with the injury, Hollowell pitched 5.2 innings of no-hit ball, striking out 10 and walking one.