Bruins Defeat No. 7 LSU and No. 20 South Carolina at UNLV Classic

Feb. 14, 2003

HENDERSON, NV - UCLA started the UNLV Classic with a bang, racking up 12 runs on four home runs and 13 hits to defeat No. 20 South Carolina by a score of 12-0 in five innings. South Carolina dropped to 5-2 on the season with the loss. In UCLA's second game of the day, Keira Goerl struck out nine and allowed just two hits as the Bruins won 2-0. UCLA is now 7-1 on the season, LSU fell to 4-3 with the loss.

In the first game of the day, the Gamecocks got into trouble early in the first game of the day, loading the bases with Bruins as Natasha Watley walked, Monique Mejia was hit by a pitch and Stephanie Ramos walked. Tairia Mims then stepped in and hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field, advancing all three baserunners and scoring Watley. After a ground out by Claire Sua and a nice play by South Carolina second baseman Debralee Troesh on a ground ball by Toria Auelua, the Gamecocks escaped with only one run plated by the Bruins.

UCLA posted two runs in the second inning, as Emily Zaplatosch led off with a walk, battling back from being down 0-2 in the count. Amanda Simpson came in to pinch-run for Zaplatosch, advancing to second on a wild pitch. Caitlin Benyi hit a fly ball to right field that went off of the glove of the USC right fielder, scoring Simpson and advancing Benyi to second. Benyi would come around to score on a single by Monique Mejia.

In the third, Claire Sua led off with a home run, a blast to deep center field. After Zaplatosch reached on an error by USC's second baseman, and scored on a home run to left field by freshman Andrea Duran, the first home run of her Bruin career.

South Carolina threatened in the bottom of the third inning, as Nancy Crane put down a lead-off bunt, and a Bruin throwing error advanced her to second base. Amber Curtis reached on a fielders choice, giving the Gamecocks runners on first and second with no outs. Jodi Fittro then put down a sacrifice bunt, and the Bruins tried for the lead runner, but were unsuccessful, loading the bases for Troesh. UCLA's Keira Goerl provided the first out of the inning for her defense, striking out Troesh. Ashley Smith then popped out on an infield fly, and Meghan Cornett struck out to end the inning.

South Carolina changed pitchers going into the top of the fourth, bringing in Aleca Johnson, who defeated the Bruins in the first NCAA Regional Championship game last May. Johnson, however, did not have the success she had a year ago. Monique Mejia led off with a bunt single, but was thrown out trying to advance to second when the ball was fumbled. Stephanie Ramos followed with a double to left center, and Mims singled, putting runners at the corners with one out. After a Claire Sua groundout, Toria Auelua hit the third Bruin home run of the day, a three-run shot, giving UCLA a 9-0 lead.

That was not the end of the Bruin offense, however, as Natasha Watley led off the fifth inning with a double down the left field line, and came home on a double by Ramos. Ramos would score when Mims connected on a blast to left field, making the score 12-0. Michelle Turner, who came in to relieve Goerl in the fourth inning, posted two strikeouts in the bottom of the fifth as UCLA won 12-0. Goerl earned the win, improving to 5-1 on the season.

Against LSU, UCLA capitalized on an error in the top of the third inning, as Natasha Watley reached base on the error, was sacrificed to second by Monique Mejia and came around to score on a fly ball hit by Stephanie Ramos that dropped in shallow center field. Watley was able to avoid the tag and score to give UCLA the 1-0 lead.

Emily Zaplatosch extended the UCLA lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning, turning in her third home run of the year, a shot over the right field fence. The Tigers started a rally of their own in the bottom half of the inning, as Sara Fitzgerald led off with a double that hit the center field fence. Fitzgerald would advance to third on a wild pitch, but would be stranded there as Goerl struck out xxx Connor and the next two batters grounded out to Watley at shortstop.

In the top of the seventh, the Bruins loaded the bases as Zaplatosch led off with a single, , followed by a single from Andrea Duran. A sacrifice bunt by Caitlin Benyi advanced pinch-runner Julie Hoshizaki and Duran to third and second, respectively, and the bases were loaded on a walk to Monique Mejia, but the Bruins were unable to capitalize, and took a 2-0 lead to the bottom of the seventh.

Goerl made the two-run lead stand up, striking out the first two batters of the seventh inning and handling a ground ball back to the circle for the final out. Goerl struck out nine and walked one, allowing just two hits in the game as she improved her record to 6-1 on the season.

UCLA returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) with games against Hawai'i and No. 4 Nebraska at the UNLV Classic.

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