Unexpected heroines emerging as Arizona Softball reaches regional final

Hannah Martinez and Tamara Statman have combined for four of the Cats seven RBI in regional play

#6 Arizona Softball 2, Auburn 1

TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona hung on for a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Auburn Saturday afternoon and lifted the host Wildcats into the regional title round of the NCAA Softball Championships at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The sixth-seed Wildcats (44-12) will face the Tigers (39-20) in the regional final. Auburn eliminated Colorado State with an 8-0 victory Saturday night after the Rams had taken out Harvard 6-0 in the opening Elimination game.

Taylor McQuillin (22-7), pitching for the second straight game, went the distance for UA, scattering six hits, walking two and striking out five.

Pinch-hitter Tamara Statman gave the Wildcats the lead with a two-out two-run single in the 4th.

Her big base knock came one night after freshman Hannah “Peanut” Martinez proved the Wildcats an offensive lift with a pair of RBI singles.

Reyna Carranco returned to the UA lineup and was greeted with what head coach Mike Candrea called an unprecedented standing ovation from the sold out crowd. She had missed the last five-plus game due to injured hands. The junior went 2-of-3 in the game with a pair of singles.

First pitch for the regional final on Saturday is 3 p.m. If Auburn wins there will be a deciding Game 7 30 minutes after the conclusion of the opener.

Two years ago the Tigers beat the Wildcats twice on the final day of the Super Regionals in Alabama to advance to the WCWS.

You can read more about Saturday’s regional semifinal victory over at ArizonaWildcats.com.

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David Kelly contributed to this story.