Statman delivers walk off drama - Tucson News Now

Statman delivers walk off drama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tamara Statman's eighth-inning single to score Nancy Bowling gave Arizona a 4-3 victory in the Knoxville Regional Championship, backing up a gutsy pitching performance by Arizona's lefty duo Danielle O'Toole and Taylor McQuillin, helping Arizona earn its 27th regional title in the last 30 years.

Tennessee led Arizona 3-1 entering the fifth, but the Cats scored two to tie the game before walking off in the eighth to complete the comeback.

O'Toole pitched 5.1 innings in two stints in the circle, allowing just three runs on a Lexi Overstreet three-run home run, the only runs surrendered by O'Toole and the Wildcat pitching staff all weekend.

The junior went 3-0 at the Knoxville Regional to improve to 25-10 on the season. She's 7-0 in her last seven starts.

O'Toole allowed the three runs on four hits with five strikeouts and one walk in her 5.1 innings.

For the weekend, O’Toole threw 19.1 innings, all but three of which occurred in a 31 hour stretch from Saturday morning into Sunday afternoon. She allowed just three runs in the regional, good for a 1.09 ERA to go along with a .109 opponents’ batting average.

Freshman Taylor McQuillin gave Arizona 2.2 critical scoreless innings in relief. She struck out four and allowed two hits in the outing.

Mo Mercado drove in two key runs for Arizona, giving Arizona an early lead with an RBI single in the third and then tying the game with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Nancy Bowling was also a key component to UA’s offensive attack. The redshirt junior reached base in every plate appearance and scored the game winning run to send the Cats to Supers.

Arizona opened the scoring in the third. With nobody on and two out, the Cats mounted a two-out rally with three straight singles. Mo Mercado plated Mandie Perez with a single up the middle to give the Cats a 1-0 lead.

The lead would not last long after Tennessee began the fourth with back-to-back singles. After a strikeout, Lexi Overstreet hit a three-run homer to give Tennessee a 3-1 lead. After O'Toole walked the next batter, she was replaced by McQuillin, who promptly walked the bases loaded. She got out of trouble with a strikeout and a groundout.

An error helped Arizona tie the game in the fifth. Eva Watson led off the frame with a single and Perez reached on an error to put the tying runs on. A passed ball moved the runners into scoring position before productive outs from Ashleigh Hughes and Mercado tied the game.

After Arizona failed to convert a two-on, one-out situation in the bottom of the sixth, Tennessee led off the seventh with two straight singles. O'Toole re-entered and induced three straight groundouts to get out of the jam and keep the game tied.

Mercado drew a two-out walk to represent the potential winning run in the bottom of the seventh, but Tennessee got out of it to force extra innings.

Arizona needed just one extra inning to finish the job.

After O'Toole sat the Volunteers down in order in the top of the eighth, Bowling reached on an error to begin the bottom of the eighth. A sac bunt moved her into scoring position for Statman, who singled to left to plate Bowling and carry the Cats to the NCAA Super Regional vs. Auburn.

Up Next: Arizona will face National No. 4 seed Auburn in the Super Regionals next weekend.

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