No. 2 Softball Falls To Bruins, 6-5

April 7, 2002

TUCSON - Two long balls by UCLA's Stacey Nuveman helped the top-rankedBruins beat Arizona, 6-5, and bring a halt to Arizona's school-recordhome-field winning streak and give All-American Jennie Finch her firstpitching loss in nearly two years.

A record crowd of 3,161 saw UCLA (34-6) jump to a quick lead and fightback later with Nuveman's homers to stop Arizona's winning streak inHillenbrand Stadium at 70 consecutive. The No. 2-ranked Wildcats dropped to35-5 overall and 4-1 in Pac-10 action. UCLA improved to 2-3 in league play.

Finch (20-1) last took a loss on April 21, 2000, in a 3-1 decision at thenNo. 4 Arizona State. She won her last eight games that year, was anNCAA-record perfect 32-0 last year and opened the 2002 season withvictories in her first 20 decisions.

UCLA wasted little time putting some runs on the board in the first.Nastasha Watley walked and Amanda Freed singled off Arizona pitcher JennyGladding's glove, and both moved up on a sacrifice by Tairia Mims. StaceyNuveman drew a walk to load the bases, then Stephanie Ramos hit a grandslam to left-center.

Arizona answered quickly. Singles by Lovie Jung and Courtney Fossatti anda fielder's choice by Leneah Manuma loaded the bases when Jung beat the tagon an attempted force out at third. An out later Gladding drew a walk toforce in one run, then Mackenzie Vandergeest blooped an RBI single to rightand Jackie Coburn laced an RBI single to right to make it 4-3.

Bruin pitcher Keira Goerl struck out Carrie Hagen but Crystal Farleychopped a single to left to drive in Gladding and tie the game.

Jennie Finch came in to relieve for UA in the top of the second and afterwalking a batter and giving up one hit, got three successive outs to endthe threat.

Arizona opened a 5-4 lead in the fourth when Jung walked, reached secondwhen Goerl threw the ball past the bag on an attempted force play, thenscored on Manuma's single up the middle.

UCLA's Nuveman hit her 80th career home run -- five shy of the NCAA recordshared by former Wildcats Laura Espinoza and Leah Braatz -- in the top ofthe fifth to knot the score, then gave UCLA a 6-5 lead in the seventh withher 81st, also a solo shot off the scoreboard.

Goerl (17-4) held Arizona hitless in the final two innings and struck outtwo in the bottom of the seventh.

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