Bruins Advance to Sunday's Regional Championship
May 21, 2005
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA softball team, the seventh-seeded team in this year's NCAA Championship, dropped its opening game of the day in an 11-inning battle, 2-1, with Cal State Fullerton, but rebounded to defeat UNLV, 4-1, in order to advance to Sunday's Championship series. The Bruins (32-17) will need to beat Cal State Fullerton twice in order to advance to next weekend's Super Regionals.
Cal State Fullerton 2, UCLA 1 (11 innings)
UCLA freshman pitcher Anjelica Selden opened the game picking up where she left off on Friday afternoon, striking out Lindsey Bashor and Candice Baker in the first inning to tie and then surpass the UCLA single-season strikeout record of 359 set by Cal State Fullerton assistant coach DeeDee Weiman during the 1994 season. Selden would go on to strike out 10 batters in the game.
The game quickly turned into a pitching duel between Selden and Baker. Neither team had a runner past second base until Andrea Duran led off the third inning with a single, advanced to second on a ground-out by Tara Henry and went to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded at third base.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Cal State Fullerton (the designated home team for this game) struck quickly with Bashor and Amanda Kamekona opening the inning with consecutive hits, a single for Bashor and double for Kamekona. After Katie Gollhardt became Selden's sixth strikeout victim of the morning, Titans head coach Michelle Gromacki called for a squeeze play that resulted in a rundown sequence and Bashor being tagged out between third base and the plate. That critical play was the second out of the inning for the Bruins, and Selden got Baker to ground out to end the inning and the Titans threat.
The score remained knotted at 0-0 with both pitchers rolling through opposing batters until with two outs in the top of the 11th inning, Jodie Legaspi connected on her ninth home run of the season, a blast to left that just cleared the fence in front of the left field scoreboard.
Unfortunately, the wheels would come off of the cart for the Bruins in the bottom of the 11th inning. Crystal Vieyra opened the frame for the Titans on first base after being hit by a Selden pitch. Whitney Kroh followed by drawing a walk before Bashor perfectly executed a bunt, easily safe at first base to load the bases with no outs. A wild pitch would then score Vieyra to tie the game before a Gollhardt infield single put Kroh in motion towards the plate, where she would beat Legaspi's throw to score the game-winning run and end the three-hour, 35-minute marathon game.
UCLA then had to wait out a two and a half hour matchup between Loyola Marymount and UNLV with the Rebels advancing with a 4-1 win to play the Bruins at 5:10 pm, more than two hours behind schedule.
UCLA 4, UNLV 1
UCLA, the designated home team against the Rebels thanks to a coin-flip win, took to the Easton Stadium field with Selden in the circle, where she would strike out 14 in the game including three K's in the second, sixth and seventh innings as UCLA went on to a 4-1 win to advance to Sunday's Championship series.
Offensively, the Bruin bats were quiet for the first three innings before Caitlin Benyi and Emily Zaplatosch drew consecutive walks to open the fourth inning. Legaspi followed with a sacrifice bunt and Kristen Dedmon hit home the opening run of the day for the Bruins to give UCLA a 1-0 lead.
After a Krista Colburn walk once again gave the Bruins two runners on base, the Rebels made a pitching change, bringing Jacque Kerrigan in to relieve Shannon Crisp. Kerrigan gave up a single to Lisa Dodd, plating pinch-runner Alissa Eno and Zaplatosch to up UCLA's lead to 3-0.
A Tara Henry single to lead off the fifth inning was followed by a ground-out from Benyi to advance Henry to second base, where she would score on a two-out RBI single from Legaspi to complete the Bruin scoring for the day with a 4-0 lead. Selden would give up a solo home run with two outs in the seventh inning to Rosa Ordaz, but earned her 14th strikeout of the day to complete the victory for UCLA.
The Bruins now advance to Sunday's Championship series, where the Bruins will need to defeat Cal State Fullerton twice in order to advance to next weekend's Super Regionals. California, the second seed in this year's NCAA Tournament, has already accomplished that feat in the only regional completed through Saturday's action.