by Carlie Scupin 18th homer of the season, a two-run two-out shot in the fifth inning, and Hana Bowen’s The third straight full-game performance was the difference in Arizona’s 2-0 win Saturday over No. 15 Missouri in Columbia, Mo.
The win puts Arizona (35-20) in the Missouri NCAA Regional Championship Round at 1 p.m. Tucson time on Sunday. The Wildcats will await the winner of the playoff game between Missouri (37-21) and Illinois (34-21) and Missouri State (27-19).
Illinois played Missouri State on Saturday afternoon, and Missouri was scheduled to play the winner of that game at night.
Missouri, Missouri State or Illinois must beat the Wildcats twice on Sunday to win the regional championship and have a chance to advance to the super regional round.
Arizona Coach Caitlin Lowe went with Bowen (12-10) in the circle for the second straight day after the fifth-year senior right-hander pitched a full game in Arizona’s 8-3 win over Illinois on Friday. Bowen also pitched a full game in Arizona’s 4-3 loss to Stanford last Saturday on senior day.
“I think she went out on a fire yesterday and got really good in clutch situations. And I thought she was a good match for Missouri. I always trust the ball in his hands,” Lowe said of his reason for going with Bowen on back-to-back days.
She would not confirm that Bowen will pitch again in the 1 p.m. game on Sunday.
Bowen finished with four hits allowed with six strikeouts and two walks against Missouri on Saturday. She was strong throughout, striking out two batters in the seventh.
It was Bowen’s second complete shutout of the season. They beat New Mexico 1-0 on February 13 at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Scupin’s home run came after Arizona’s first two batters in the fifth were retired and Izzy Pacho was hit by a throw. The two-point blast over the right center field fence came on a full count and increased his RBI count to 54 this season.
Bowen started strong, dropping the team in the first two innings and didn’t allow a hit until there was one in the third.
The single of Jenna Laird at that time came with an off loaded the basics after Casidy-Chaumont and Emma Raabe had walked. Bowen brought out the last two batters and hit them to end the threat.
Missouri again threatened at the start of the sixth after Brooke Wilmes single and Kendyll Bailey later had a one-out double. Bowen brought out the last two batters.
The game was delayed about an hour due to lightning and rain with a scoreless game in the third inning.
“We really expected the rain to be delayed just because of the weather this morning,” Scupin said, referring to the covered weather forecast. “I mean, we always have fun no matter what. We were in the locker room staying free but also staying focused and ready to get back there.
Arizona third base coach Laurin Rabbit was sent off by the referee Lindon Baptist at the bottom of the second for arguing a controversial appeal on Blaise Biringer called out of the batter’s box when she hit what appeared to be a hit.
Lowe took on third base coaching duties for the first time in her coaching career with the Wildcats. She joined by Mike Candrea full-time staff at his alma mater in 2015.
Candrea was ejected in a 2016 game against Oregon State for contesting balls and strikes and Stacy Iveson replaced him as third base coach.
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Javier Morales, publisher, writer and editor of ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com, is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star Beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News, and Baseball America, among many other publications. He is also the author of the book “The Highest Life Form”, which is available on Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is currently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.