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Mike Candrea on ESPN, about Danielle O'Toole: "She is everything that we were hoping, and more." #ArizonaWildcats
Information from the Arizona media relations department contributed to this report
Arizona lefty ace Danielle O’Toole limited host Auburn to only two hits in seven innings to win her eighth consecutive game, fourth straight in the postseason, in the 5-3 victory Saturday night.
The victory puts the Wildcats (40-19) one win away from clinching the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional with the second game scheduled Sunday at 11 a.m. MST on ESPN. Should Auburn (52-10) force a third game, the if-necessary game would be 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, and will be televised on ESPNU.
Arizona is one win away from its 23rd trip to the Women’s College World Series because of O’Toole’s pitching and its effective small-ball hitting — producing with an abundance of infield hits, bunts and RBI groundouts.
O’Toole (26-10) finished put the clamps on one of the nation’s top offenses. Auburn entered the Super Regional round tied for the NCAA with 8.31 runs a game. Two of three runs scored by the Tigers were unearned.
Arizona’s lineup produced nine hits, most in front of the green of the outfield, against two Auburn pitchers. All of the hits were singles. The Wildcats, who rallied back from a 2-1 deficit, used their speed on the base paths to rally against Auburn.
Mike Candrea always rides his ace as far as he can; not even a question that O'Toole will start Game 2 tomorrow.
Arizona shortstop Mo Mercado had three RBIs. Center fielder Eva Watson went 2-for-2 and scored three of Arizona’s five runs. All of her runs were scored off infield plays.
The Wildcats — who have not qualified for the WCWS since 2010 — entered the postseason with a 1-12 record in their last 13 postseason games away from Hillenbrand Stadium with no super-regional victories in that span.
In four games, the Wildcats are unbeaten, all coming on the road, three of which were to SEC opponents Tennessee and Auburn.
Who's driving to Auburn tomorrow? I am!! To watch Arizona play!! #oohooh
Classic Arizona softball!!!!!!!!
Way to take it upon yourself O'Toole #gutsy
Yesterday, Mike Candrea said this. pic.twitter.com/D2eLjoISRz
☝️ more. pic.twitter.com/VcdZ7UF1jN
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales 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 articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.