OKLAHOMA CITY — Dejah Mulipola’s two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning sunk the No. 3 Washington softball team, which dropped its opener at the Women’s College World Series 3-1 to No. 6 Arizona.
“That’s the game, and you have to love it for what it is,” head coach Heather Tarr said.
Alvelo struck out 11 in eight innings of work, but Arizona’s Taylor McQuillin did that much better, allowing just one run on six hits in the win.
“It’s the postseason,” Alvelo said. “It’s a whole different kind of ballgame when you go into the postseason. It was an eight-inning game. I threw a lot of good pitches in a lot of good spots, and sometimes things just don’t fall your way. It’s just the way the game goes, we haveto find our way back, and I know we will.”
It’s the first time since 2010 that the UW dropped its opening game in Oklahoma City. That year, the Huskies lost their second game and were one of the first two teams eliminated.
Alvelo got two quick outs to begin the top of the eighth, but Malia Martinez extended the inning with a single flipped into right field. Mulipola fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before putting the Wildcats (48-12, 19-5 Pac-12) ahead for good with her 23rd home run of the season.
McQuillin and Alvelo traded five scoreless innings to start the game, but the Wildcats jumped ahead on one swing in the top of the sixth, when Jessie Harper sent a pitch the other way over the fence in right field for a solo home run.
The lead wouldn’t last, though. Freshman left fielder Sami Reynolds turned on McQuillin’s first pitch of the bottom half of the inning and sent it to pretty much the same spot in the right field stands that Harper’s bomb had gone.
The Huskies (50-8, 20-4 Pac-12) had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh, putting Amirah Milloy and Sis Bates on base with one out and Morganne Flores coming to the plate. Flores hit one to deep center field, but Alyssa Palomino tracked it down to keep the game going.
Flores went 0-for-3; she also grounded out with two runners on in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Taryn Atlee had the best day at the plate for Washington, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks to reach base in each of her plate appearances. Milloy added a pair of base hits.
With the loss, the UW is immediately on the brink of elimination. Washington will get Friday off, then come back Saturday at 11 a.m. PT to take on the loser of the matchup between No. 2 UCLA and No. 7 Minnesota.
“We’re not happy, but we’ll get over it,” Tarr said. “We have another game to play.”
Reach Sports Editor Josh Kirshenbaum at email@example.com. Twitter: @J_Kirshenbaum
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