Oklahoma State, ranked No. 3 in the nation, scored four runs in the first inning and held on for a 4-3 victory over 10th-ranked Arizona in the finals of the ninth Pony softball tournament Sunday at Cal State Fullerton.
Michele Smith (8-1), who pitched the Cowboys (19-1) to a 2-0 semifinal victory over top-ranked Fresno State Sunday, yielded just two hits to the defending-champion Wildcats (26-11) through five innings. In the top of the sixth, she gave up two hits, including a three-run homer to Suzie Lady.
Smith, who finished the game with seven strikeouts, came back after Lady’s home run to retire the last four batters for the victory.
“We came to do a job and we did it,” Oklahoma State Coach Sandy Fischer said.
“It takes character to do what Michele Smith did after she gave up the homer,” said Arizona Coach Mike Candrea, whose team earned its berth in the finals by beating 11th-ranked Cal State Long Beach, 1-0. “You don’t become an All-American pitcher like she is by not getting the key outs when you need them, like she did.”
Arizona pitcher Lisa Bautista (16-5) gave up four hits, including run-scoring singles by Sharon Sodano and Michelle Shean, as Oklahoma State scored all its runs in the first inning. Bautista allowed just three more hits the rest of the game.
In quarterfinal action earlier Sunday, Arizona took advantage of five Cal State Fullerton errors to score three of its runs en route to a 4-1 victory.
Fifth-ranked Fullerton (23-5) saw Arizona convert four of the Titans’ errors into a 2-0 lead in the top of the third.
Fullerton, which got five hits off Bautista, had two of them in the third as the Titans scored their only run on Bautista’s two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch.
Julie Standering, who led off the Wildcat fifth by reaching base on shortstop Jill Matyuch’s throwing error, advanced to third on Julie Jones’ single to center and scored on Nikki Dennis’ infield out to give Arizona a 3-1 lead.
Arizona got another run on Lady’s RBI single in the seventh.
Losing pitcher Ann Van Dortrecht (10-3) gave up three unearned runs on four hits before she was replaced by Anjie Bryant in the fifth inning.
“They beat us in every department,” Titan Coach Judi Garman said. “We played terrible defense and we didn’t get the bunts down when we needed to.”
In other quarterfinal games, Cal State Long Beach beat, Akron, 3-0; Fresno State beat Texas A&M;, 3-1, and Oklahoma State beat Cal Poly Pomona, 5-0.