March 28, 2004
LOS ANGELES - The game started as a pitchers duel, but the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team exploded for eight runs in the third inning en route to an 11-0 run-rule victory over UCLA on Sunday afternoon at Easton Stadium. UCLA alum Lisa Fernandez struck out six and allowed just one hit on the day, while UCLA's Keira Goerl also struck out six in the loss. Statistics for this game do not count towards UCLA's season totals.
The game opened as a pitchers duel as UCLA's Keira Goerl and Team USA's Lisa Fernandez each retired all three batters they faced in the first inning. The first baserunner of the game belonged to Team USA, as former Bruin Tairia Mims Flowers drew a walk off of Goerl. Flowers would be out at second base as Lovie Jung hit into a fielder choice. Jung would advance to scoring position as she stole second base, but Kelly Kretchman lined out to end the inning.
Another former Bruin, Team USA left fielder Amanda Freed, recorded the first hit of the game, chopping a single to the left side of the infield and out-running Jodie Legaspi's throw from shortstop. A bunt single by Laura Berg followed, giving the Olympic Team runners on first and second with nobody out and the top of the lineup at the plate.
Former UCLA All-American Natasha Watley came to the plate and put down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw to the bag at first base was slightly off-line. It was caught by Lisa Dodd, but the ball was knocked from Dodd's glove as Watley ran through the bag at first base, scoring Freed from second base and advancing Berg to third. Goerl then intentionally walked Team USA slugger Crystl Bustos to load the bases for Fernandez.
Lisa Fernandez delivered with a two-RBI single up the middle, scoring Berg and Watley. Tairia Flowers followed with a walk to load the bases, and a fourth run scored on a single by Jung. Kelly Kretchman then stepped in and put a grand slam home run, her fifth round-tripper of the "Aiming for Athens" tour, just over the left field fence to give Team USA an 8-0 lead after two and a half innings.
After the Bruins went down in order in the bottom of the third inning with Lisa Fernandez continuing the perfect game, Team USA got hits from Bustos and Fernandez before Tairia Mims Flowers drew her third walk of the day to once again load the bases for Team USA. Jung then pushed across Team USA's ninth run with a single to left field. A fielders choice by Kretchman scored Fernandez for a 10-0 lead. Goerl was able to record her fourth strikeout of the game, catching Amanda Freed looking, to end the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, UCLA got its first baserunner of the day as Stephanie Ramos reached on an error, but pinch-runner Amanda Simpson was unable to advance as the teams finished the fourth inning with Team USA leading 10-0.
Pinch-hitter Jessica Mendoza led off the fifth inning for Team USA and was retired on a ground-out. Natasha Watley followed with an infield single, bringing former UCLA great Stacey Nuveman to the plate as a pinch-hitter, her first at-bat of the "Aiming for Athens" tour. Nuveman is UCLA's career record holder for batting average and holds NCAA career records for home runs (90) and slugging percentage (.945). Unfortunately, she was unable to deliver on Sunday, as she became Goerl's fifth strikeout victim of the game. Goerl would strike out her sixth and final batter, Lisa Fernandez, to end the top of the fifth inning.
Emily Zaplatosch broke up the no-hitter with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, capitalizing on a slow-moving infield chopper to reach first base before the throw. She was replaced by pinch-runner Ashley Herrera. After Lisa Dodd flied out to center field, Team USA head coach Mike Candrea removed Fernandez in the circle, replacing her with Lori Harrigan, giving the Easton Stadium crowd a chance to salute her impressive performance on the day. Whitney Holum proved to be the final batter of the game, popping out to end the game.
UCLA returns to action on Tuesday afternoon with a 1 pm first pitch against Cal State Fullerton at Easton Stadium. The Bruins will then travel to Arizona State and Arizona next weekend to open Pac-10 play.