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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Taryne Mowatt used to be known as a pitcher. Now she's Arizona's secret slugger.
Mowatt homered and drove in three runs and Alicia Hollowell threw a one-hitter as Arizona beat Northwestern 8-0 Monday night to win Game 1 of the Women's College World Series championship.
Mowatt never carried a bat to the plate last year, when she made 13 appearances as a pitcher. She slid into the lineup early this season and developed a sudden power surge in the World Series.
"I think throughout the year I only hit singles," said Mowatt, who was 3-for-4 with a two-run double.
Hollowell (31-5) struck out 12 and Arizona (53-11) took advantage of two errors by Northwestern (50-14) to score five runs in the third inning and break open the game.
Game 2 in the best-of-three series is Tuesday night.
"We're ready to win the national championship. We're definitely ready to go," Arizona center fielder Caitlin Lowe said. "But we need to make sure that we come out and it's really a fresh start. We need to start scoring again right off the bat."
Adrienne Acton reached on an infield single to start the third inning and moved to third base when Lowe hit a chopper to short that Tammy Williams fielded before throwing the ball in the dirt wide of first base. Lowe then stole second uncontested as Acton bluffed off third, and Northwestern coach Kate Drohan replaced starter Eileen Canney (26-8) with Courtnay Foster.
Autumn Champion grounded to second base and Acton swept her left hand across the tip of home plate before Northwestern catcher Jamie Dotson could take Ashley Crane's throw and whirl for a tag.
Williams and Crane then collided as they went to field Kristie Fox's pop fly to the edge of the left field grass. As the ball fell to the ground. Lowe raced home to make it 2-0. Callista Balko followed with a bloop single to left field to bring in Champion, and Mowatt clubbed a two-run double off the wall in left-center field to make it 5-0 and bring on chants of "U of A!"
"Offensively, we made some things happen with a little help from them and a lot of help from us and put some runs on the board," Arizona coach Mike Candrea said.
Drohan said she pulled Canney because she got a bad feeling and wanted to mix things up.
"There was some weird energy out there today," Drohan said.
Northwestern is playing for the championship for the first time, while Arizona is seeking its seventh title -- all since 1991 under Candrea, who also led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.
"There was definitely a different feel on the field today. I don't know exactly what it was," Dotson said. "I think everyone came out ready to play with the pressure on. ... We do well together, we play bad together. Sometimes it's unfortunate that we're such a team and we rub off on each other a lot. When one person makes a mistake, sometimes it just rubs off."
A throwing error by Northwestern's Darcy Sengewald helped Lowe advance to third before scoring on a Fox sacrifice fly in the fourth. Chelsie Mesa and Mowatt added back-to-back solo homers in the seventh.
The home runs were Arizona's first in 54 2-3 innings of World Series play.
"That's what we try to develop our team on is a balance of speed and a little bit of power," Candrea said.
"Speed kills," he added. "Obviously when you see us putting the ball on the ground and forcing them to try to make decisions quickly, a lot of things can happen and that's kind of what we live and die on."
Dotson broke up Hollowell's perfect game bid with a grounder into left to lead off the fifth inning.
Hollowell threw a no-hitter against Northwestern in February in another 8-0 game that was called after six innings due to the run rule.
Lowe's steal in the third inning tied the record for most steals in a Women's College World Series with four. Texas A&M's Judy Trussell had four in 1984 and Arizona's Alison Johnsen matched her in 1996. Lowe also tied a Series record for runs scored with six. Johnsen, UCLA's Lisa Fernandez and two others also hold the record. ... Arizona is 10-for-10 on stolen-base attempts in the WCWS. ... The Series set an attendance record for the second straight year. Including the 4,391 fans on Monday, total attendance this year is 41,699 -- 16 more than last year.