SOFTBALL: ARIZONA 3, STANFORD 2

Fowler steps up for Wildcats

2010-04-17T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:12:43Z Fowler steps up for WildcatsPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 17, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Murderer's Row on Friday night went by the name of Haber, Hansen and Rich.

The top three batters in Stanford's lineup came up with the tying run on base in the seventh inning Friday night.

But Kenzie Fowler sat them down, and the No. 3 Arizona Wildcats defeated No. 10 Stanford 3-2 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

"This is one of those defining moments in a pitcher's career," UA coach Mike Candrea said.

Stanford's Sarah Hassman led off the seventh with an infield single, with Alissa Haber and Ashley Hansen, both All-Americans, scheduled to hit next.

Haber, a .469 hitter, grounded out to first to move Hassman to second.

Hansen, who doubled in a run earlier in the game, then flared out to second.

With two outs, Jenna Rich, her team's home run leader with 10, came to the plate with the tying run in scoring position.

Fowler struck her out on a screwball to end the game.

"The only time you're going to see that is in the Pac-10," Fowler said of the lineup.

Fowler's performance - four hits and two runs, nine strikeouts and five walks - must have been reassuring after the worst weekend of her college career.

In Seattle, she lost three straight games against the No. 1 Huskies. In 13 1/3 innings there, she allowed 16 hits and 10 earned runs.

Before the Washington series, she had allowed 16 earned runs all season.

"Personally, it was a hard week for me to kind of get through," said Fowler, now 22-5 with a 1.26 ERA. "I struggled a lot as a pitcher. I felt I kind of let the team down last weekend.

"I thought about it a lot this week, and really took it to practice."

Conversely, the Wildcats (33-7, 3-4) hammered a Pac-10 ace Friday night, five days after watching Washington's Danielle Lawrie strike out 39 batters over three games.

Stanford (30-7, 4-3) ace Teagan Gerhart, who entered the game 22-5, didn't make it out of the third inning.

With two outs and Lauren Schutzler on second base, Stacie Chambers doubled off the left-center field fence to give the UA a 1-0 lead. The next batter, Brigette Del Ponte, launched a homer to the opposite field.

"We needed to get our confidence back," Del Ponte said. "Especially with a good pitcher."

Gerhart's replacement, Ashley Chinn, escaped the third inning and allowed only one hit the rest of the way.

Her offense, meanwhile, rallied.

After Fowler walked two batters with one out in the fifth, Hansen cued a ball to left field that squirted past a charging Brittany Lastrapes. The left fielder recovered, making a cutoff throw to Del Ponte, who gunned down Haber at home plate.

One run scored.

Shannon Koplitz hit a solo homer toward the left field foul pole to lead off the sixth. After a walk and a bunt, Fowler found herself with the tying run at second base with one out in the sixth.

She struck out Melisa Koutz swinging and got Jenna Becerra looking to end the threat.

"It just gets tougher from here," Fowler said. "These situations just help me as a pitcher and helps us as a team kind of live through these moments."

TODAY

• What: Stanford at Arizona

• When: 7 p.m.

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