Bruins Take Series against Depleted Cats

May 15, 2010

TUCSON -- UCLA took advantage of a banged-up Arizona pitching staff and the No. 5 Bruins topped Arizona, 6-4, to win the season series 2-1 on UA's senior day and earn a second place finish in the rugged Pac-10 Conference.

The Bruins finished 14-7 in league play and 40-11 overall entering next week's NCAA Championships, for which both teams may have been jockeying for seeding. The No. 3 Wildcats dropped to 43-11 and 12-8, finishing alone in third.

With ace Kenzie Fowler sidelined with a shoulder problem, Sarah Akamine (12-5) got her second start, but had to leave with a knee problem and senior Ashley Ralston-Alvarez came in for her fifth appearance of the year. UCLA's Megan Langenfeld (10-1) won in relief.

UA got on the board first for the first time all weekend and took little time doing it. Brittany Lastrapes was hit by a pitch from Donna Kerr, Lauren Schutzler got a long-distance bunt single over the shortstop's head and Stacie Chambers tripled to the gap in right-center for a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

The Cats chased Kerr after a walk to Baillie Kirker and a hit by Karissa Buchanan in the second, but reliever Langenfeld got two outs to retire the side.

UCLA threatened in the third responded with a walk by Dani Yudin and a bloop single from Julie Burney to put a runner in scoring position. GiOnna DiSalvatore doubled with one out in the third, and moved to second on a single by Monica Harrison, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Langenfeld grounded to short and K'Lee Arredondo held the runner at third. After a delay for Akamine to get her knee taped, Andrea Harrison flew to left to stop the rally.

Arizona had a shot at more runs in the third. Arredondo led off with a single, Chambers drew a walk and both moved up on a sac bunt by Briegette Del Ponte. But Langenfeld got a pair of ground balls from Lini Koria and Kristen Arriola.

Akamine battled the knee problem again in the fourth, including striking out Samantha Camuso for the third out, but tossing a wild pitch to let her reach first. Kaila Shull followed with a single through the right side. B.B. Bates walked to load the bases. DiSalvatore singled up the middle for a couple of RBI and Schutzler misplayed the ball for a bases-clearing play and error, and UCLA took a 3-2 lead.

The Cats got two on in the fourth, but stranded them both when Schutzler struck out and Arredondo flew to left. That made a total of seven runners left on base to that point.

Reliever Ashley Ralston-Alvarez walked Langenfeld and Andrea Harrison to open the UCLA fifth, and both moved into scoring position on a sac bunt by Dani Yudin. But Ralston-Alvarez responded by striking out Julie Burney and Camuso to stop the Bruins in their tracks.

Shull led off the sixth with a double, and an out later DiSalvatore was issued an intentional walk. Pinch-hitter Charlotte Dolan singled up the middle to drive in a run, and Langenfeld doubled to center to plate two more and make it 6-2.

But UA came back to make it tighter. Karissa Buchanan got her first double of the year and Lastrapes socked her 15th home run of the season to close within two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Both teams learn their first-round postseason fates Sunday evening with the NCAA Softball Committee making its selections for host teams and the field in the 2010 NCAA Softball Championships that start next Thursday or Friday. The committee's picks will be known at 7 p.m. (MST) on ESPNU.