No. 5 UCLA Hands Lawrie First Loss In 1-0 Nail Biter
April 1, 2010
In a Pac-10 opening battle between the defending national champions and the defending conference champions, No. 5 UCLA got the best of the No. 1 Washington softball team, 1-0, in a pressure-packed game that came down to the final play Thursday at Husky Softball Stadium.
The Bruins (27-4), who took two of three from the Huskies (28-3) last year en route to the Pac-10 title before UW ended the season as national champs, handed reigning National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie her first loss of the year, scoring a single run in the sixth inning to drop the senior to 18-1.
Lawrie allowed just four hits and struck out 11 but her offense was only able to must four hits off Bruins ace Donna Kerr, who improved to 13-1 on the season.
The game ended on a tough break for the Huskies as they loaded the bases with two outs to put the winning run on second base. Sophomore Kimi Pohlman then chopped a ball toward short, but the Husky base runner heading to third collided with the Bruins shortstop, ending the game on runner's interference.
It was a tough start to the conference season for UW, which left seven runners on base.
The teams were scoreless through the first five innings, with the Huskies putting runners at second in each of the first two innings, first on a two-out single and stolen base by Jenn Salling and again on a one-out double by Shawna Wright in the second, but they were unable to break through. They would go quietly in the third before they came within inches of taking the lead in the fourth.
After Salling led off with a walk, Niki Williams came up one out later and sent a long fly ball to straight away centerfield that took Devon Lindvall back to the wall, but she reached up and made the catch near the top of the wall to keep the game scoreless.
UCLA, meanwhile, had two chances early on. With one out in the second, the Bruins put two on the base paths, but Lawrie struck out the next two batters to squash the threat. Another rally in the third was thwarted when the freshman Wright picked a runner off second base.
But the Bruins would finally break through for the game's only run in the top of the sixth, with Dani Yudin driving in the winning run with a two-out single. Samantha Camuso led off with a walk, was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a ground out to short. Yudin then delivered the clutch single to right field to put UCLA ahead. Lawrie would record her 10th strikeout of the game to end the inning but the damage had been done.
After going down in order in the sixth, the Huskies mounted a rally in the seventh, started by Williams who lined a solid single to left field. She then moved into scoring position with nobody out when UCLA's catcher attempted to pick her off at first and the throw got just far enough away to allow the sophomore to move up.
One out later, Fagaly drew another walk and with two outs, Amanda Fleischman kept the Huskies alive with an infield single to second to load the bases. That brought up Pohlman, who was the hero last year against UCLA when she ripped a three-run double off Megan Langenfeld to give UW a 3-0 win in Seattle.
But it was not to be this time as Pohlman's bouncing ball appeared to be headed up the middle to plate the tying and winning runs, but pinch runner Bailey Stenson and shortstop GiOnna DiSalvatore collided. As Husky runners were rounding the bases and fans were celebrating, the umpire signaled the interference call to end the game.
The two teams will meet again on Friday at 6 p.m. in the second of a three-game series. The series wraps up on Saturday with the final game at Noon. In the event of a rainout on Friday, the game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday.
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