Keira Goerl Named Most Outstanding Player of Regional as Softball Defeats Alabama, 7-0

May 23, 2004

LOS ANGELES - Keira Goerl tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout and Caitlin Benyi and Claire Sua homered as the top-seeded Bruins advanced to their 21st Women's College World Series with a 7-0 win over Alabama in Sunday's Regional Championship game at Easton Stadium.

UCLA, the defending NCAA Softball Champions, improves to 43-9 overall and will face Stanford at 11:30 a.m. PDT on Thursday, May 27, in the opening round of the World Series. Alabama ends the season 45-20 overall.

Alabama came out swinging in the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back one out singles by Dominique Accetturo and Jackie McClain, but Goerl got Stephanie VanBrakle to pop up to catcher Emily Zaplatosch and Capper Reed to ground out back to the mound to end the threat.

UCLA got on the board in the top of the second as Zaplatosch and Ashley Herrera reached via a hit by pitch and walk, respectively. Julie Hoshizaki looped a double down the left field line, just out of the reach of Alabama left fielder Angela Johnson, to score Zaplatosch and Herrera for a 2-0 Bruin lead. After an intentional walk to Benyi, Andrea Duran singled through the right side to score Hoshizaki and give UCLA a 3-0 lead.

The Bruins added solo runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The Bruins took a 4-0 lead in the third inning as Claire Sua hit the roof of the batting cage beyond right field for her ninth homer of the year.

Duran gave UCLA a 5-0 edge in the fourth inning as she once again drove home Hoshizaki, who had reached on an infield single two batters earlier. Jodie Legaspi, the late-inning hero of UCLA's win on Saturday over the Crimson Tide, doubled down the right field line in the fifth inning to score Amanda Simpson, who entered as a pinch runner after a leadoff walk to Sua to start the inning. Benyi closed the scoring with her 22nd homer of the season, this one to dead center field over the 210 foot sign in the top of the sixth inning to give UCLA a 7-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Goerl was cruising in the circle. She retired the side in order in the third through sixth innings, part of a stretch in which she retired 14-straight batters from the end of the second inning through early in the seventh inning. Only two Alabama runners reached as far as second base the entire game, with Accetturo getting there in the first inning and Staci Ramsey doubling in the second inning. Only one of the final 17 batters that Goerl faced reached base (Reed single in the seventh inning).

Goerl allowed just four hits and fanned 10 Alabama batters without a walk in the complete game shutout, improving to 27-7 on the year en route to being named the Most Outstanding Player of the Regional. Goerl allowed just 10 hits and one earned run in 28 innings during the Regional, giving up just one intentional walk while fanning 39 batters in that span. Duran went 2-for-4 with three RBIs while Hoshizaki was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI in the win.

Goerl was one of five Bruins named to the All-Regional team, joined by Benyi, Duran, Legaspi and Stephanie Ramos. Also named to the All-Regional team were Alabama's Capper Reed, Stephanie VanBrakle and Ashley Courtney; Cornell's Melissa Heintz; Mississippi Valley State's Balencia Young; Louisville's Shannon Nord; and Long Beach State's Marcel Torres and Meredith Cervenka.

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