Legaspi's Ninth-Inning Walk-Off Home Run Sinks Alabama, 5-3

May 22, 2004

LOS ANGELES - Jodie Legaspi's three run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the UCLA softball team over Alabama's Crimson Tide with a final score of 5-2. The win advances the Bruins to Sunday's NCAA Regional 2 Championship game against either Alabama or Long Beach State. The game is scheduled for a 1 pm start on Sunday and will be televised live on ESPN.

UCLA and Alabama were forced into extra innings when the game was tied at 2-2 at the close of the seventh inning. Alabama was the first to score at the bottom of the second when Capper Reed was hit by a pitch and advanced to first base. A steal would bring her to second. UCLA's Keira Goerl would put Jackie Wilkins on first after an errant pitch hit her as well. A single by Ashley Courtney paired with two Bruin errors on the play scored Reed and Wilkins to give Alabama the 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Caitlin Benyi's lead off home run over the right field wall would put the Bruins on the board. The Bruins would score again at the bottom of the fifth when Alabama pitched around Benyi to lead off the inning with a walk. A sacrifice by Andrea Duran would advance Benyi to second. She was advanced to third on a wild pitch during Claire Sua's at-bat. Sua would go on to single to right field, putting herself on base and bring in Benyi for the critical game-tying run.

Although the Bruins loaded the bases at the bottom of the sixth with walks by Emily Zaplatosch, Julie Hoshizaki and an intentional walk to Benyi, the Bruins would close the inning scoreless. The Bruins would get on base again at the bottom of the seventh with a walk by Sua and a single by Legaspi putting two Bruins on base. Yet, UCLA would have to wait until the bottom of the ninth and Legaspi's three RBI homer to close the game and advance to Sunday's regional final.

Lisa Dodd's single to left field put her on base to start the ninth inning. A fly out by Sua followed and Ramos's sacrifice bunt advanced Sua's pinch runner, Michelle Turner, to second base. Facing two outs and the possibility of heading into the tenth inning, Legaspi stepped to the plate and brought home the win for the Bruins with her home run.

In the circle, senior Keira Goerl had another outstanding outing, striking out 14. Her only walk of the game was an intentional walk, issued to Stephanie VanBrakle in the first inning. Goerl is now 26-7 on the season, giving her 125 career victories. That total is good for fourth place on the NCAA's all-time list.

The Bruins will return to the field at 1 pm on Sunday afternoon when they will play in the championship game of NCAA Regional 2 against either Alabama or Long Beach State. The Bruins would only have to win one of two possible championship games to advance to next week's Women's College World Series, while Alabama or Long Beach State would have to defeat the Bruins twice on Sunday to advance to the WCWS.

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