Lady Eagles' Blades Throws Perfect Softball Game Against Arizona
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OKLAHOMA CITY (May 25) -- All-American pitcher Courtney Blades threw a perfect game and struck out 12 to help No. 7 seed Southern Mississippi slip past No. 2 seed Arizona, 1-0, in Women's College World Series first-round action on May 25.
Blades and USM, who Arizona had beaten 10-2 three months ago on the third day of the season in Tucson in February, recorded the first no-hitter against UA this year.
The perfect game by Blades was the fourth in CWS history.
The Lady Eagles (62-11) scored the only run - unearned - in the top of the first. Jennifer Collins hit an infield single, and later moved to second when UA catcher Lindsey Collins threw the ball into centerfield returning a pitch to Becky Lemke. Collins moved to third on Chrystal Stevens' ground out, then scored on Erin Johnson's single up the middle.
The error was Lindsey Collins' first of the season, in 536 chances.
Blades (51-6) struck out the side in the second and fifth innings. She struck out the 3-4-5-6 batters in UA's lineup seven times. Arizona brought the nation-leading batting average into the series at .342. This times it was 21 up, 21 down.
UA's Becky Lemke (29-6) struck out 10 and gave up seven hits in taking the loss, which snapped Arizona's victory streak at 14 games.
The loss puts Arizona (57-8) in a loser's bracket game Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against California, which lost 2-1 to Oklahoma in the first round.
Arizona had not lost a first-round CWS game since 1990 when Oklahoma State blanked the Cats 3-0.