Bruin Comeback Falls Just Shy as Softball Falls to Oregon
April 12, 2003
EUGENE, OR - Dramatic sixth and seventh inning rallies fell just short on Saturday afternoon at Oregon's Howe Field as UCLA fell to the Ducks by a 5-4 margin. The Bruins had trailed by as much as 5-1, but fought back in the later innings, falling just shy of completing the comeback. With the loss, the Bruins fall to 33-5 (5-3 Pac-10), while Oregon improves to 21-12 (3-6 Pac-10).
The Bruins rallied briefly in the second inning on a lead-off single to center by Claire Sua, with Amanda Simpson coming in to pinch run. UCLA center fielder Stephanie Ramos was then hit by a pitch in the right forearm. She would run the bases, but had to be replaced defensively at the conclusion of the inning. A successful sacrifice bunt by Toria Auelua advanced the Bruin base runners to second and third, but they would be stranded there, with the game remaining scoreless after an inning and half.
Oregon loaded the bases in the bottom of the second on an infield single by Alyssa Laux, Jennifer Poore was hit by a pitch. The runners advanced on a sacrifice by Lynsey Haij. After Goerl struck out Janell Bergstrom, a walk to Breanne Sabol loaded the bases for lead-off hitter Amber Hutchison who struck out to end the inning.
UCLA scored its first run in the top of the third inning on a one-out single by Natasha Watley. After center fielder Caitlin Benyi struck out, Watley stole second base to break the Pac-10 career stolen bases record with the 149th swipe of her Bruin career. The record had previously been held by Arizona's Alison McCutcheon (1995-98). Watley would score on a double to the fence in center field by Tairia Mims. After Claire Sua was intentionally walked to give the Bruins runners on first and second, but Alissa Eno grounded into a fielders choice to end the inning with UCLA leading 1-0.
The Ducks stormed back to take the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Keira Goerl walked lead-off hitter Erin Goodell on four pitches. Goodell advanced on a sacrifice by Elizabeth Boskovich before the Bruins intentionally walked Andrea Vidlund, but Alyssa Laux made the Bruins pay, torching her second home run of the season over the right field fence to give Oregon a 3-1 lead.
Oregon led off the fourth inning with a single by Amber Hutchison, but Goodell bunted into a double play that cleared the bases. Boskovich then walked and scored on a Vidlund home run, her fifth of the season, bringing the score of 5-1 Ducks.
A Caitlin Benyi home run to left field in the fifth inning brought the score to 5-2. An Oregon pitching change to start the sixth inning looked as if it would work in UCLA's favor, as Andrea Vidlund gave up two hits and UCLA loaded the bases with one out as Stephanie Ramos re-entered the game and singled through the left side of the infield and advanced to third on a double to right center by Toria Auelua. A pinch-hit walk by Emily Zaplatosch loaded the bases with Monique Mejia re-entering to run the bases for Zaplatosch. Vidlund recovered, however, to strike out pinch-hitter Michelle Turner and third baseman Andrea Duran to end the inning and the Bruin threat.
After a one-two-three bottom of the sixth that saw Goerl strike out the side, the Bruins had the top of their order up to start the seventh. Natasha Watley led off the inning with a single through the right side of the infield, and advanced to second base when the throw in from right field hit Watley and she was able to advance to second. Watley came around to score on a single through the right side of the infield by Benyi, as the ball went under the glove of a diving Goodell at second base.
Yet another right-side single, this time by Tairia Mims, gave UCLA runners on first and second with Claire Sua at the plate and a 5-3 Oregon lead. Claire Sua hit a monstrous foul ball on a 3-2 pitch that was just foul down the left field line, then stepped back in and struck out two pitches later for the first out of the inning. Stephanie Ramos then stepped in and hit a 2-2 pitch down the left field line, a ball that hit the outfield wall just fair of the pole for an RBI single, scoring Benyi from second base. Unfortunately for the Bruin rally ended when Toria Auelua grounded into a game-ending double play.
The Bruins and Ducks will match up again on Sunday at 1 pm at Howe Field.