'Meant for this stage': How Arizona held off Oregon State in WCWS elimination game
Arizona found itself in another nail-biter in its second game at the Women’s College World Series.
Fresh off a heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma State, the Wildcats were on the brink of elimination as they played Oregon State on Friday night.
It was another close one for the Wildcats.
But this time, they had enough firepower to get the win.
Arizona extended its season with a 3-1 victory against Oregon State at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium. The Wildcats scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning to break a tie before reliever Hanah Bowen held off an Oregon State rally in the seventh.
Arizona (39-21) will play Texas in its next elimination game at 6 p.m. Sunday.
“It feels awesome,” said Caitlin Lowe, who is in her first season as Arizona’s head coach. “I told them after the game that they were meant for this stage, and I truly believe they were going to chip away and make it happen. Nothing really got too big. They were amped at the beginning of the game, but they knew they were going to win that game on this stage.”
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Friday night’s matchup featured a pair of great starting pitching performances.
Arizona’s Devyn Netz went five innings and allowed just one earned run and three hits before Bowen came in and earned the win.
Netz struggled a little bit early but never got rattled.
“At this level everyone is going to score at least one run, two runs,” the sophomore said. “This is postseason, so this is going to be a tight game no matter what. I knew if I just trusted in my team, they were going to have my back.”
Oregon State ace Mariah Mazon, who missed the team’s WCWS opener against Florida because of an undisclosed issue, pitched all six innings for the Beavers (39-22). The senior gave up six hits and three earned runs.
Arizona’s victory came down to some clutch offense in the sixth.
Carlie Scupin gave the Wildcats their first lead with a double that scored pinch runner Amber Toven. Blaise Biringer extended the lead on a single that scored pinch runner Giulia Koutsoyanopulos.
Those were the first runs in the game since the second inning, when Oregon State’s Madison Simon hit a sacrifice fly and Arizona’s Sophia Carroll belted an RBI double.
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“I think as a team we really had all good at-bats at the game,” Scupin said. “We had to execute at some point. It could have been any of us. We just all had to come through.”
While Arizona extended its stay in Oklahoma City, Oregon State will head back to Corvallis following a breakout season.
The Beavers were in the WCWS for the second time overall and first since 2006.
They had some special players, most notably Mazon, who certainly left her mark at Oregon State.
“She has created a name for our program,” Oregon State sophomore left fielder Madison Simon said. “She has done a lot, carried our team through a lot of situations. She's just a great teammate overall in general, too.
“We all wanted to do this for her, too. It's her last time. That was just mainly our goal.”
Mazon was emotional after the game.
“I don't want to start crying,” she said. “This is like one of the best years I've had, like all the relationships with the girls on the team. Oregon State in general just gave me a great five years. I don't really have any words. It's just been amazing, and I'm so glad that I came to Oregon State, chose to play under Coach (Laura) Berg.”