Fresno State Squeaks Past Arizona, 1-0, for NCAA Title
May 25, 1998
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Arizona went into Monday's national softball title game with an NCAA-record 67 victories and just three losses.
The Wildcats hadn't been scored on in the postseason, had won five of the last seven national titles and beat Fresno State three times during the regular season.
What Arizona didn't have against the Bulldogs was any offense as Amanda Scott held them to just three singles and Nina Lindenberg hit a home run to give FSU a 1-0 victory and the national title.
"No question UCLA and Arizona have dominated for a long time. It's nice to be one of the little schools that come through and win it," said Fresno State coach Margie Wright.
"Hopefully it will send a message that other people can do the same thing. I don't know if you can understand how long it's taken for us to hear that. These kids were awesome today. They deserve to be national champions."
Lindenberg led off the sixth inning by hitting Nancy Evans' first pitch over the left-field fence for the game's only run. The homer snapped Evans' streak of scoreless innings at 38 and gave the pitcher (36-2) just her second loss of the season.
"To get that run, that's all we needed," said Scott, who was named the Series MVP. "Good Lord, Nina sent that pitch."
The homer also was the only run the Wildcats allowed in seven games during the NCAA tournament and ended their 29-game winning streak.
"We definitely don't feel that we're invincible," said Arizona coach Mike Candrea. "I hate that word, because I don't think there's anyone in this country or this world that's invincible."
Lindenberg's homer was her 13th of the season and third hit of the game.
Arizona managed just three singles off Scott (25-4).
Fresno State (52-11) left six runners on base during the game, including two in the first inning.
"Like I tell the girls ... we win with class and we lose with class. I think they've done that all year," Candrea said. "We've got a lot of teary-eyed girls right now. It's going to take a little while. I give all the credit to Fresno State. They did a heck of a job and I congratulate them."
Arizona finished the season with a 67-4 record.
The title was Fresno's first after playing in four previous championship games, most recently a 2-0 loss to UCLA in 1990.
"Oh my gosh, it's so awesome," said Fresno State's Laura Berg. "This is unbelievable. Wait till tonight when it sinks in."