The resilient Wildcats ran up against a motivated Bruins squad that slugged their way to an 11th championship. From The Arizona Daily Star:
The Wildcats ran out of strength and maybe magic, among other things.
“I think we expelled a lot of energy to get here,” UA coach Mike Candrea said.
Monday night, a ghastly defensive mistake cost the UA a sure win in Game 1.
Tuesday night, Megan Langenfeld, a senior who won Monday’s game with a walk-off blast, hit a two-run shot in the first to give UCLA an early lead.
The UA, already appearing to be on edge one day after the heart-wrenching loss, never recovered.
Arizona ace Kenzie Fowler was pulled in the second inning. From AZCentral:
The first batter of the second inning, however, was Fowler’s last. She hit B.B. Bates, a left-hander, on the head with a pitch. The ball bounced off her helmet and landed in the glove of first baseman Lini Koria.
Rattled – and weary from throwing 695 pitches over 33 2/3 innings since Saturday morning – Fowler was removed in favor of No. 2 starter Sarah Akamine, who had thrown only three innings in Oklahoma City.
Candrea said Fowler was flexing her troublesome right hand and losing feeling in it.
The freshman said she was “exhausted . . . mentally and physically” after pitching seven games. Asked about the extent of her injury, she said, “it doesn’t matter now.”
Tears in her eyes, Fowler spoke in curt sentences.
“As a team, we had to fight the whole tournament,” she said. “I’m not happy with myself. I couldn’t finish it.”