Softball Drops Regular Season Finale to Stanford, 5-4
May 13, 2006
STANFORD, Calif. - Top-ranked UCLA dropped its final regular season contest by a 5-4 margin at Stanford on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins, who clinched the 2006 Pac-10 title on Thursday with a win at California, await the announcement of the NCAA Tournament field which will take place on Sunday at 12:30 pm Pacific Time on ESPNews.
For a second consecutive day, the Cardinal struck first. In the bottom of the first, Stanford loaded the bases on a fielder choice by Jackie Rinehart, a bunt single by Lauren Lappin and an intentional walk to Maddy Coon, issued after a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position. After Missy Penna struck out for the second out of the inning, Michelle Smith connected on a two-RBI double just fair down the third base line to give the Cardinal a 2-0 lead. A third run came across in the second inning on a Cataline Morris triple followed by a Bruin throwing error to give Stanford a 3-0 lead.
UCLA would answer in the top of the second inning. Whitney Holum led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch runner Alissa Eno. After Tara Henry put down a one-out bunt single, Andrea Duran drew a walk to load the bases. Krista Colburn then grounded to Stanford shortstop Lappin, who was unable to field the ball, yielding an E6 that scored the Bruins first run of the game. Caitlin Benyi followed with a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield, scoring Henry, and an errant throw trying to gun Colburn at second base allowed Duran to score, tying the game at 3-3.
Coon walked to lead off the Cardinal third inning before being replaced by pinch runner Shoney Hixson. Hixson stole second and an errant throw from Bruin catcher Emily Zaplatosch to the bag at second base advanced her to third base. It was the first error for Zaplatosch since a catchers interference call on April 25, 2004, against Cal at Easton Stadium, a stretch of 1,019 defensive chances without a fielding error. After Penna struck out for the first out of the inning, Smith connected on a sacrifice fly, allowing Stanford to regain the lead by a 4-3 margin.
The Stanford lead was extended again in the fourth inning as Tricia Aggabao led off with a single. A walk to Morris gave the Cardinal a pair of base runners, and the pair advanced on a ground-out by Rinehart before a wild pitch put a fifth run on the board for the home team.
In the top of the fifth, the Bruins pushed across a fourth run. Tara Henry led off with a slap-hit single to deep shortstop, and advanced to second on an errant throw by Lappin. After a walk to Duran and a fielders choice by Benyi when Coon mis-handled the ball at third base and failed to get an out on the play, Zaplatosch posted a sacrifice fly, scoring Henry to make the score 5-4 in Stanford's favor.
The Bruins return home to await NCAA Tournament selection, which will take place on Sunday, May 14, at 12:30 pm on ESPNews. UCLA is guaranteed a spot in the tournament field by virtue of its 2006 Pac-10 Championships, and the Bruins are likely to be the top seed in the tournament after No. 2 Texas lost both of its Big 12 Tournament games this weekend.