Softball opens Women's College World Series with 2-0 win over Arizona State
OKLAHOMA CITY -- National Player of the Year Cat Osterman fired a one-hitter and struck out 18 batters, an NCAA Women's College World Series record for a seven-inning game, to lift No. 3 seed Texas to a 2-0 victory over No. 6 seed Arizona State in the first round of the 2006 Women's College World Series.
With the win, the Longhorns improve to 55-7 and move into the winner's bracket in the WCWS. Texas will face No. 2 seed Arizona (50-10) in a 6 p.m. (Central) game on Friday, June 2 at 6 p.m. (Central) at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, site of the WCWS. Arizona advanced with a 3-2 nine-inning win over No. 7 Oregon State, in the tourney's first game which was delayed for nearly two hours due to inclement weather.
The Texas offense rapped out six hits, four of them for extra-bases, as the Longhorns scored single runs in the both the fourth and fifth innings. Key UT hits were delivered by senior rightfielder Amber Hall (RBI double in the fourth) and sophomore shortstop Desiree Williams (solo homer in the fifth).
Osterman, now 38-2, just missed firing a perfect game. She allowed one hit, a leadoff single to left field in the second inning to cleanup hitter and third baseman Bianca Cruz. Osterman faced only 22 Sun Devil hitters, one batter over the minimum.
Texas got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when second baseman Chez Sievers wrapped a leadoff double off the left-field wall. After an outfield flyout, ripped an RBI double to right center to score Sievers for the 1-0 lead.
Sun Devil sophomore lefthander Katie Burkhart then got the final two outs on two strikeouts.
The next inning, Williams came to the plate with two outs and slammed a solo home run off the left field foul pole for the 2-0 Texas lead. The homer was Williams' 13 th of the year and her 40 th RBI to date, both team highs.
With her 18 strikeouts, Osterman not only set the WCWS record for strikeouts in a seven-inning game, but also moved to No. 2 on the NCAA Division I single season strikeout list. She now has 608 strikeouts on the year, surpassing Tennessee's Monica Abbott, who had 603 in 2005. The all-time season strikeout mark is held by former Southern Mississippi star Courtney Blades (663 K's in 2000).
Burkhart took the loss, falling to 29-7. She allowed both earned runs on six hits, walking two and striking out nine.
Arizona State will face Oregon State on Saturday, June 3 in an 11 a.m. elimination game on ESPN.
· Texas has now won six games in a row. to six games and improved to 5-6 all-time at the WCWS.
· Arizona State is making its fifth appearance in the WCWS and its first since 2002. ASU's three other appearances in the WCWS came in 2000, 1987 and 1982. ASU fell to 4-9 in WCWS play with the loss. The Sun Devils have appeared in the NCAA Tournament on 17 occasions.
· With a 1-for-1 effort in stolen bases, senior Tina Boutelle tied the school record for single season stolen bases ... She now has 25 steals in 27 attempts, including a four-for-five effort in the NCAAs... She ties the school record for base thefts, held by Erin Mahoney (2002).
· Texas snapped ASU's nine-game winning streak, which was the longest of any team entering the WCWS.
· Today's game set three different WCWS records. Cat Osterman's 18 strikeouts broke the WCWS single-game record for K's in a seven-inning contest. The previous record of 17 was shared by Osterman (2005, 2003) and Northwestern's Lisa Ishikawa (1984). The combined strikeouts of both teams (27) also tied a seven-inning single-game record at the WCWS shared by Michigan and Texas in 2005. With only two assists by both teams combined, the game also set a WCWS record for fewest assists. The record was previously held by DePaul and Southern Miss in 1999 (five total assists).
· Texas is 76-0 in the last two years when leading after five innings; the last time an opponent mounted a late-inning comeback against the Horns was in 2004. On the year, the Longhorns improved to 37-0 when leading after five innings.
· Of UT's six hits against the Sun Devils, four were for extra bases (three doubles, one HR). Eighteen of UT's 39 hits (46 percent) in the NCAA Tournament have been extra-base hits. Four of the Horns' six hits today went for extra bases.
· Today's matchup marked the ninth meeting between Texas and Arizona State. With the win, Texas improved to 5-4 in the series. The last meeting between the two schools was a 1-0 Longhorn victory on March 19, 2005, at the Kia Klassic in Fullerton, Calif.
· Cat Osterman's 18 strikeouts marked her 36 th double-digit strikeout game of the season and her 21 st game of 15 or more strikeouts. Osterman also recorded her 27 th shutout of the season.
· Senior Amber Hall knocked in UT's first run of the game with her double to center field. It marked her 21 st RBI of the season and her fourth in the NCAA Tournament. It marked her team-high 11 th double of the season.
· UT's Desiree Williams' home run off the left field foul pole in the fifth was her first ever in two WCWS appearances and her team-leading 12 th of the season.
· UT's Tina Boutelle singled to right field in the fifth inning to extend her hitting streak to eight games. Additionally, her stolen base in the fifth marked her 25 th of the season, tying the UT record held by Erin Mahoney in 2002. The stolen bag also tied the school career record of 61 shared by Lindsay Gardner (2000-03).
· Thursday's first session attendance of 4,750 marked the third-highest for an opening WCWS session. The highest was 5,072 set in 2001, followed by 4,949 in 2003.
· The Sun Devils were held to one hit for just the second time this season. ASU recorded one hit against UCLA on April 29. The Sun Devils have only been shut out five times this season.
I was a little concerned yesterday - we looked like the nerves were there just a little bit with some of our younger athletes at practice. But as the day settled in and as we got out here with our warm-up today they looked relaxed and loose and had a good presence of mind. Arizona State is a great ball club and we brought a game plan in and were able to kind of hit on all cylinders. I'm proud of our ball club for getting that initial win here."
On her team's improved offense this year...
On offense, it's about compensating and adjusting. I thought we did that today and I thought we have done a good job of that and have gotten better about that throughout the season."
Texas Senior Pitcher Cat Osterman
After the first inning, I think I realized I was going to be hitting my corners. The umpire was very consistent and did not stretch the plate very much at all. I have to give credit to(catcher Megan) Willis, as we worked together to do a good job of keeping it on the corner."
Texas sophomore shortstop Desiree Williams
Arizona State Coach Clint Myers
On hitting against Cat Osterman...
On moving on from the loss...
Arizona State sophomore pitcher Katie Burkhart