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Opportunity Knocks but Nobody Answers

College softball: Missouri eliminates Northridge, 3-1, after Matadors fail to capitalize of late scoring chances.

May 23, 1999|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Unable to capitalize on several scoring chances late in the game, the Cal State Northridge softball team fell victim to Missouri's productive sixth inning in a 3-1 loss in an NCAA Division I regional Saturday at UCLA's Easton Stadium.

"We played well and went down in a fight," Coach Janet Sherman said.

Missouri went on to beat Minnesota, 3-0, in the fourth elimination game and will face top-seeded and top-ranked UCLA (58-6) in a championship game at 1 p.m.

The Tigers must defeat the Bruins twice to advance to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City on Thursday.

Missouri had not beaten Northridge in six previous meetings, including a 7-3 loss to the Matadors (30-24) on Thursday, when starter Stephanie Falk was chased during a six-run second inning.

But Falk gave the Matadors fits in the early innings of the rematch by working the outside of the plate, which she did in the first round.

"They pitched us well," Sherman said. "It took us a little while to adjust.

"She threw different than she did the first time."

Falk (26-12), a crafty right-hander who threw a lot of off-speed pitches, allowed only two hits in the first four innings.

But the Matadors broke through in the fifth.

Ui Bal led off with a line drive to left, but was thrown out trying to take second on a sloppy throw into the infield.

"That's the way we play--aggressive," Sherman said. "I was yelling, 'Go,' We gotta make something happen, it's zero-zero. She did what she was supposed to do."

After a groundout, Jodi Borenstein singled to right-center and Katrina Nolletti followed with a double to the same gap.

With runners at second and third, Jessica Creith hit a ground ball to shortstop Shawna Robinson who made an errant throw to third, allowing Borenstein to score for a 1-0 Northridge lead.

Northridge, which left a runner in scoring position in each of the last three innings, threatened again in the sixth on Summer Richardson's two-out double. But, like the previous inning, a groundout ended the threat.

Missouri responded with three runs off Matador ace Tara Glaister in its half of the inning.

Glaister hit Wendy Harrison with a pitch, then Kim Slover singled up the middle. Linda Swarts followed with a looping fly ball to shallow right field that was nearly caught by a diving Borenstein and Harrison scored to tie the game.

Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Jamie Lowry and Christy Skouby provided the Tigers with a 3-1 lead.

"I didn't have my best stuff all day," Glaister said. "I don't feel tired but the pop's not there, the movement's not there."

In the top of the seventh, Elizabeth Pierce led off with a double before Borenstein struck out on three pitches.

After a sacrifice by Nolletti, pinch-runner Michelle Wintermute was left stranded at third when Creith took a called third strike.

Glaister (21-15), who allowed five hits and struck out two, allowed three hits in the first five innings.

"You don't have to hit all the time to win," Coach Jay Miller of Missouri said. "You have to hit when the game is on the line and that's what we did today."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

NCAA

Regional One / Double Elimination

Friday's Results

* Missouri: 1

* Alabama: 0

Alabama eliminated

* UCLA: 14

* Creighton: 0

Creighton eliminated

* Minnesota: 2

* CS Northridge: 1

Saturday's Results

* Missouri: 3

* CS Northridge: 1

Northridge eliminated

* UCLA: 5

* Minnesota: 0

* Missouri: 3

* Minnesota: 0

Minnesota eliminated

Today

* UCLA vs. Missouri, 1 p.m.

Missouri needs 2 wins to advance

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