Bruins Return To Action After Two Weeks Off

March 25, 2003

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UCLA returns to action this week after two off-weekends due to winter quarter final exams. The Bruins open their schedule on Tuesday with a doubleheader at Cal State Fullerton, where they hope to avenge one of their two losses this season. UCLA then takes to the road to begin the Pac-10 season, with a televised game at Stanford on Friday evening followed by Saturday and Sunday single games at Cal's Levine-Fricke Field. Following Tuesday's doubleheader in Fullerton, all of UCLA's remaining regular season games are against Pac-10 opponents.

NATASHA WATLEY SWEEPS NATIONAL HONORS

Senior shortstop Natasha Watley was named as the National Player of the Week by both the NFCA and USA Softball/ESPN.com for her performance at the Hedrick's Hallowell Chevrolet Classic, which was UCLA's final competition prior to winter quarter final exams. Watley hit .786 during tournament play (11-for-14) with seven RBI, one sacrifice fly and team highs in hits (11), runs scored (7), triples (1), walks (2) and stolen bases (8). Watley was not named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for her accomplishments. In Fresno, Watley had at least two hits and one stolen base in each of UCLA's five games. With her performance during the tournament, Watley raised her season batting average by 44 points, going from .488 to .532 for the season.

BRUINS SHINE DESPITE SECOND PLACE FINISH IN FRESNO

UCLA finished second at the Hedrick's Hallowell Chevrolet Classic in Fresno, CA, as the Bruins and DePaul finished with identical 4-1 conference records and the Blue Demons won the head-to-head matchup. Several Bruins, in addition to Watley, had impressive weekends in Fresno, including Keira Goerl, who posted a 3-1 record, striking out 32 and walking five while adding three more one-hitters to her season resum�. Offensively, Tairia Mims hit .429 for the weekend, going 6-for-14 at the plate with three doubles and a team-high eight RBIs.

UCLA VS. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS

No. 8 (ESPN.com)/9 (NFCA) Cal State Fullerton -- The Bruins and Titans have already tangled once this season, with Cal State Fullerton taking home a 2-0 win on Feb. 1 at thhe Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. The Titans hold a 29-23-1 all-time advantage over UCLA, and are coached by Michelle Gromacki. Cal State Fullerton has a 2003 record of 19-10. They are led offensively by Jenny Topping (.434 BA) and in the circle by Gina Oaks (12-4 record, 1.54 ERA).

No. 12/9 Stanford -- The Bruins swept the 2002 season series against the Cardinal, and UCLA holds a 34-7 all-time advantage in the series. The CCardinal is coached by John Rittman, and has a 2003 record of 24-8. Stanford is led offensively by Lauren Lappin (.367 BA), and in the circle by Dana Sorensen (10-2, 0.49 ERA) and Tori Nyberg (11-4, 1.36 ERA)

No. 6/6 California -- UCLA swept the 2002 season series with the Golden Bears, including Keira Goerl's no-hitter at Levine-Fricke Field on Apr. 226. UCLA holds a 59-13 advantage in the all-time series. Cal is coached by Diane Ninemire, and the Golden Bears are led offensively by Veronica Nelson (.383 BA) and in the circle by Kelly Anderson (11-3, 1.05 ERA).

NEXT WEEK IN BRUIN SOFTBALL

UCLA opens its home Pac-10 schedule with games against the Arizona schools. The Bruins host Arizona State for a 2 pm first pitch on Friday, followed by a 2 pm first pitch against Arizona on Saturday and a 1 pm start versus the Wildcats on Sunday.

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