UCLA Falls To Arizona State, 2-1; Bruins Eliminated From WCWS
May 25, 2002
OKLAHOMA CITY - The UCLA softball team was eliminated from the Women's College World Series on Saturday evening with a 2-1 loss to Arizona State. The Bruins complete their 2002 season with a 55-9 record.
The Sun Devils opened the scoring in the top of the third inning with a two-out rally. After the Bruins had posted a strikeout and ground-out for the first two outs of the inning, Kristin Farber and Kara Brun posted back-to-back singles before Phelan Wright hit a double that bounced on the right field foul line, scoring Farber. Following an intentional walk to pitcher Erica Beach, Missy Hixon recorded an RBI single, giving ASU the 2-0 lead, before Erin Wardein grounded out to end the inning.
UCLA put together a two-out rally of its own in the bottom of that same inning, as Monique Mejia posted a two-out single to right, followed by an infield single from Natasha Watley. The bases would then become loaded when Amanda Freed drew a walk, but the inning would end when Tairia Mims grounded into a fielders choice.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Bruins made numerous defensive switches, with Keira Goerl coming in to pitch, Freed moving from the circle to center field, Mejia moving from center to right field, and Stephanie Ramos moving from right to left field. Goerl would retire all 12 batters she faced, recording four strikeouts.
The Bruins scored their runs in the sixth inning, when Freed posted a one-out single to right, followed by a single to left by Mims. Four-time All-American Stacey Nuveman then stepped in and delivered offensively, hitting an RBI double down the right field line and leaving the Bruins with runners on second and third with one out. Unfortunately, the batters behind Nuveman were unable to push the tying run across the plate.
UCLA threatened a final time in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Crissy Buck led off and was hit by a pitch, giving the Bruins a crucial base runner. Casey Hiraiwa came in to pinch-run for Buck. Hiraiwa advanced to second on a sacrifice by Toria Auelua, and went to third on a ground-out by Mejia, but the Bruins were unable to push across the tying run, giving the Sun Devils a berth in Sunday's semifinal game against California.
Amanda Freed completes her UCLA career with a school-record 97 pitching victories, while Stacey Nuveman sets UCLA records for career batting average (.466, 3rd NCAA history) and doubles (51), and sets NCAA records for single season (1.045) and career (.945) slugging percentage. This was the final game in a Bruin uniform for Freed and Nuveman, along with UCLA's remaining seniors Crissy Buck, Casey Hiraiwa and Erin Rahn.