Cal Comes Up Just Short in National Championship Game
May 26, 2003
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Toria Auelua hit a single through the left side in the top of the ninth inning that scored Stephanie Ramos for the game's only run as UCLA (54-7) walked away with a 1-0 victory in the national championship game Monday afternoon at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, denying California (49-20) its second consecutive title.
The title tilt featured for the first time in the 22-year history of the World Series that both teams had come through the loser's bracket. UCLA's victory marked just the third time ever that a team that had suffered a loss ended up winning the national title.
Cal was unable to get a hit off UCLA pitcher Keira Goerl, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. The Bears did get have five baserunners, but could not advance one further than second base.
Cal's best chances came in the later stages of the game. Veronica Nelson was intentionally walked for the third time to open the bottom of the seventh inning and was replaced by pinch runner Linzi Wescott, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Haley Woods. But a strikeout by Kaleo Eldredge and a groundout by Chelsea Spencer sent the game into extra innings, Cal's third of the series.
With two outs in bottom of the eighth, Vicky Galindo slapped a ball that was fielded by Goerl. But Goerl's throw to first was wide allowing Galindo to advance to second base. Lindsay James followed by working the count full before grounding out to end the threat.
Cal found itself in an early jam after giving up a two-out triple to Natasha Watley and a walk to Caitlin Benyi in the third inning. But pitcher Kelly Anderson Kelly Anderson managed to work her way out of the first and third situation by getting Tairia Mims to groundout to second base to end the threat.
UCLA threatened again in the top of the eighth after Watley singled through the left side with one out. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt before the Bears opted to intentionally walk Mims for the second time in the game. Again, Anderson was able to get out unscathed as she forced Claire Sua to hit a soft grounder to second base.
Anderson, pitching in her first World Series, proved to be the workhorse for the Bears pitching 48 of a possible 52 innings over six games in five days. She allowed just eight runs, six earned, on 25 hits. She posted an 0.88 ERA while allowing hitters just a .152 average.
Spencer led the team during the Series with a .318 batting average, seven hits and five RBI. She also scored four runs and blasted her second home run of the season. Her biggest hit, perhaps, was a 12th inning RBI single against Arizona that kept Cal alive in an elimination game.
Cal was well represented on the World Series all-tournament team, garnering four spots, the most of any team in the tournament -Anderson, Galindo, Nelson and Spencer. It was the second straight selection for both Nelson and Spencer.
Despite the loss, Cal's pitching has been tremendous over its last 85 postseason innings dating to last year. During that span, the Bears have allowed just seven earned runs (nine total) while themselves scoring 47 during the same span.
Cal finishes the season with a 49-20 record and its fifth straight appearance at the Women's College World Series and its second consecutive showing in the national championship game. The Bears return 13 players off this year's active roster as well as one redshirt. The team will say goodbye to six seniors - Jen Deering, Eryn Manahan, Kristen Morley, Nelson, Mikella Pedretti and Courtney Scott.
NCAA Softball Results at Hall of Fame StadiumOklahoma City, Okla.
UCLA 000 000 001 - 1 5 1California 000 000 000 - 0 0 0
Goerl and Zaplatosch. Anderson and Scott.W - Goerl (40-7). L - Anderson (23-12).3B: UCLA-Watley (5). 2B: UCLA-Ramos (11).
Records:UCLA: 54-7Cal: 49-20
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