Arizona Too Much for CSUN
It was supposed to be a slugfest.
A team batting .381 against another batting .318, with the two clubs having 336 extra-base hits between them. And everyone expecting a slew of long balls and plenty of offense.
The Cal State Northridge softball team, however, didn’t live up to its billing. Instead, the Matadors made top-ranked Arizona look like a one-woman show.
Arizona ace Susie Parra threw a one-hitter and struck out 13 to pace the Wildcats’ 4-0 victory over Northridge in the championship game of the Women’s College World Series on Monday in front of 3,966 at Hall of Fame Stadium.
Northridge was playing in an NCAA Division I final for only the second time in school history. The men’s volleyball team played UCLA in the national championship in 1993 and lost.
Arizona (64-3), which remained top-ranked throughout the season, scored single runs in each of the first three innings and never let third-ranked Northridge (52-10) into the game.
Parra (33-1), who entered the game with a 1.08 earned-run average, surrendered a two-out double to Beth Calcante in the first inning, but struck out Tamara Ivie for the third out.
Parra retired 18 consecutive batters after Calcante’s double. With two out in the seventh, Ivie drew a full-count walk before Parra struck out Scia Maumausolo on four pitches to end it.
“I gotta give Susie Parra a lot of credit,” Northridge Coach Gary Torgeson said. “She kept us totally off balance. It didn’t seem like she threw the same pitch twice. She changed speeds very well and it was hard to make any adjustments on her.”
It is the third national title in four years for the Wildcats, who beat UCLA in the final last season. It is a safe bet that Arizona will remain on top for quite a while. Only two starters are seniors.
Parra, who along with third baseman Susie Duarte make up the only starting seniors, will be sorely missed by Mike Candrea.
“It was vintage Susie Parra,” he said. “It’s been a real fun year to a point that I never wanted it to end. It really has been a dream season for us.
“I should probably retire today because it’s not gonna get much better than this--until next year when we start it all over again.”
Pitching a one-hitter against a team that has batted above .300 all season was quite a surprise to Parra, who admitted it was her finest outing of the year.
“My changeup was working good and we kept them guessing,” she said. “But, I was shocked to end the year like that. I was worried the whole game.”
Arizona, which was batting .409 as a team in the tournament going into the final, had seven hits off Jennifer Richardson (9-1) in four innings. Amy Windmiller, who along with third baseman Shannon Jones survived the first-floor collapse of their Northridge Meadows apartment in the earthquake, came on in relief in the fifth. Windmiller retired all six batters she faced, but it was too late.
“I wish we could have hit better behind Jen, because she was pitching a great game,” Ivie said. “The hits that they had aren’t hits to win a game.”
Arizona scored the only run it would need in the first inning on Laura Espinoza’s single. Leah O’Brien, who went three for three, doubled with one out and scored when Espinoza’s hard liner glanced off Jones’ glove and caromed into left field.
The Wildcats added another run in the second when Jones’ throw home hit Nancy Evans in the back during her slide. Evans had singled to lead off the inning.
Leah Braatz’s single scored O’Brien in the third and Amy Chellevold scored in the fifth on Jenny Dalton’s ground ball fielder’s choice.
It was a frustrating loss for the Matadors, who believe if they had another shot at Arizona, they would win.
“I’m (ticked) because we didn’t win,” Calcante said. “We’ve been through an earthquake, coach’s moodiness, PMS. . . We’ve been through so much and we come here and we’re like, ‘Pfffft,’ in our last game. I’ve never seen our team this down.”
MORE COVERAGE: C2, C4