Softball Sweeps Aggies in Last Games Before Final Exams
March 17, 2005
LOS ANGELES - The Bruins put up eight hits in a run-rule victory in game one and followed with a dramatic seventh-inning comeback in the nightcap to sweep a doubleheader from Utah State on Thursday afternoon at Easton Stadium. UCLA is now 18-6 on the season after winning the opener 8-0 in five innings and pulling off an 8-7 victory in the nightcap.
Game One: UCLA 8, Utah State 0 (5 innings)
The first two innings of Game One looked to be a pitchers duel, with UCLA's Lisa Dodd striking out the side in the first and getting a 1-2-3 inning in the second while Utah State's Leslie Higley retired the first seven Bruins she faced.
UCLA was able to put together a four-run rally in the third inning however, as Ashley Herrera got UCLA's first hit of the day, a one-out single to right field. Herrera went to third on a Krista Colburn at-bat that was mishandled by the Aggie defense, giving the Bruins two runners in scoring position for Caitlin Benyi, who plated two runs on her at-bat. Andrea Duran followed with a single up the middle to score Benyi and would steal second before coming around for the fourth run of the inning on a pinball single by Jodie Legaspi to give the Bruins a 4-0 lead after three innings of play.
After Dodd struck out the side again in the fourth inning, the Bruins threatened in the bottom half of the inning but were unable to score before a fifth-inning rally would end the game. Sophomore left fielder Tara Henry doubled with one out in the fifth, chopping a hit just over the head of Aggie shortstop Quela Leohnardt and taking second base on the play. After Andrea Duran flied out, Jodie Legaspi reached on an infield error to extend the inning. Emily Zaplatosch followed with her second home run of the season, a shot to right field to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead. Dodd then gave the Bruins back-to-back home runs for just the second time this season, a walk-off shot to give UCLA the 8-0 run-rule victory.
Dodd finished with seven strikeouts, one walk and one hit for a shutout victory. That improved her record to 5-3 on the season in the circle.
Game Two: Utah State 5, UCLA 4
UCLA did not lead until the final at-bat of the game in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader. The Aggies struck first, using two walks to open the game to start a rally that would push Leohnardt across for the first run of the game on a single to right by Kelly Leos.
In the bottom half of the frame, Duran posted a two-out single, went to second on a walk by Legaspi and came home on a single by Zaplatosch to tie the game at 1-1.
Utah State regained the lead in the top of the third inning as UCLA starting pitcher Krista Colburn gave up three straight hits, including a two-run double by by Jessica Garnett, before being replaced in the circle by Kristen Dedmon in a triple-switch that sent Colburn to left, Ashley Herrera from left field to right field and took right fielder Whitney Holum out of the game. The first batter Dedmon faced, Kelly Leos, singled to left field to bring in Garnett and give the Aggies a 4-1 lead after two and a half innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, UCLA nearly batted around and was able to tie the game at 4-4. The rally opened with consecutive singles from Colburn and Catilin Benyi, followed by a ground-out from Tara Henry that advanced both runners and prompted a pitching change by Utah State, bringing Jessica Garnett into the circle. Garnett's first batter faced, Andrea Duran, singled to load the bases and a walk to Jodie Legaspi with the bases loaded gave UCLA its first run of the inning and brought the score to 4-2.
Zaplatosch followed with a single down the right field line to score Benyi and Duran and tie the game at 4-4.
Utah State pushed across a run to re-take the lead in the sixth inning, as pinch-hitter Shawn Bjarnson led off the inning with a single, advancing to second base on an outfield error. Bjarnson would come around to score on a one-out double to right center by Michell Vlahos, to give the Aggies a 5-4 lead.
In the seventh, Utah State added two insurance runs, starting the rally with a lead-off double from Garnett, who was replaced by pinch runner Jenna McCartney. After a single by Leos gave the Aggies runners on the corners, pinch-hitter Heather Haak connected on a two-RBI double down the right field line to extend the lead to three runs at 7-4 after six and a half innings of play.
UCLA opened the bottom of the seventh inning with a double to left field by Andrea Duran off of Utah State's third pitcher of the game, game one starter Leslie Higley. A one-out double to right center by Zaplatosch scored Duran to cut the lead to two runs. Zaplatosch would go to third on a passed ball during the at-bat of Lisa Dodd, who would eventually walk to give UCLA runners on the corners. A single up the middle by Kristen Dedmon cut the lead to a single run at 7-6, and brought Ashley Herrera to the plate. Herrera grounded down the first base line, and stopped dead on the baseline, forcing the Aggies first baseman to tag her, which allowed the runners to both advance into scoring position.
With sophomore Jaisa Creps inserted to run at second base, and Dodd on the bag at third, Caitlin Benyi connected on an infield single, but the throw from shortstop to first base got away from Leos, allowing Creps to score easily from second as she read the play and did not slow at third base. The heads-up base running play by Creps ended the game with the Bruins taking the 8-7 victory.
UCLA will now take 11 days off for winter quarter final exams. The Bruins will return to action on Tuesday, March 29 with a single game at Cal State Fullerton before traveling to Oregon to begin Pac-10 play in Corvallis, Ore., on April 1.
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