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NCAA Softball Tournament: Baylor Bears stun Arizona Wildcats to advance to Women’s College World Series

Wildcats lose a heartbreaker to fall short of the Women’s College World Series

Photo by Jason Bartel

Up by two runs in the seventh inning, the Arizona Wildcats looked destined to make their first Women’s College World Series appearance since 2010.

Instead, Shelby McGlaun lifted a three-run homer to center field off Taylor McQuillin to lift the Baylor Bears to a stunning 6-5 victory.

The Wildcats finish the season 52-9 and 30-4 at home, and miss the WCWS for the seventh year in a row.

Arizona put two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but the rally fell short as senior pinch-hitter Nancy Bowling grounded out to second in her final at-bat at Hillenbrand Stadium.

McQuillin (16-4), who entered in the seventh, was tagged with the loss after Danielle O’Toole tossed six innings of three-run ball in her final start at Hillenbrand Stadium.

O’Toole was in line for the win after Reyna Carranco delivered a go-ahead single to put UA ahead 4-3 in the sixth and Mo Mercado drew a bases loaded walk to give Arizona an insurance run heading into the final frame, but it wasn’t enough for the Wildcats, who lost consecutive games at home for the first time all season.

Baylor appeared to take a 4-3 lead against O’Toole in the top of the sixth after three two-out singles, but Taylor Ellis missed third base before crossing home plate and the run was ruled off after a brief discussion by the umpires.

Arizona was trailing 3-1 heading into the fifth but postseason hero Jessie Harper lined a game-tying single after Mercado’s RBI single put Arizona within one.

Shelby Friudenberg knocked in three runs for the Bears, including an RBI double in the first inning to give Baylor and early 1-0 lead and a two-run homer in the third to put Baylor ahead 3-1.

The Wildcats intentionally walked her in her third at-bat.

Arizona slugger Katiyana Mauga was walked three times herself, but did get a chance to swing the bat in the sixth with the bases loaded when she flew out to center.

Mauga scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first to tie the game.

Baylor will face No. 10 Oklahoma next weekend in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.