March 14, 2004
FRESNO, CA - The top-ranked UCLA softball team lost its first game of the 2004 season on Sunday afternoon at Bulldog Diamond in Fresno, Calif., losing 3-2 to No. 18 Oregon State. The Bruins had a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, but a two-out rally by the Beavers sealed the win for Oregon State (24-8).
Caitlin Benyi opened the top of the first inning with her third lead-off home run of the season, a shot to left center. She is the first Bruin this season to reach double-figure home runs, as that was her 10th of the season.
Oregon State countered in the bottom of the first inning as Adrienne Alo reached on a Bruin error and Mia Longfellow followed with an infield single. Kelly Petersen then hit a fly ball to right center field that was tracked down by Bruin right fielder Ashley Herrera, who made an impressive catch for the first out of the inning. Vanessa Iapala then popped out and Lisa Dodd struck out Brianne McGowan to end the inning with the Bruins continuing to lead 1-0.
In the bottom of the third, Alo drew a walk to lead off the inning for Oregon State. She was sacrificed to second base by Longfellow, and came around to score on a two-out double to right center by Iapala to tie the game at 1-1.
The top of the fifth saw UCLA put together a two-out rally, started by a single to center by Caitlin Benyi, followed by a single just fair down the right field line by Andrea Duran that advanced Benyi to third base. A walk to Stephanie Ramos, her second of the game, loaded the bases but the Bruins were unable to push a run across in the inning.
Another spectacular defensive play by the Bruins started the bottom of the fifth inning, as Andrea Duran made a diving catch of a foul ball for the first out of the inning. From there, Adrienne Alo was hit by a pitch and stole second base before Longfellow hit into a fielders choice where the Bruins were unsuccessful in trying to get the out on Alo at second base. A ground-out by Iapala for the second out of the inning advanced the runners to second and third, but the Beavers were also unable to push a run across, leaving the score tied at 1-1.
Good defensive plays did not exclusively belong to the Bruins in the game, as a flair to left field hit by Caitlin Benyi was snagged on the run by OSU's Longfellow for the second out of the top of the seventh inning. That hit-saving catch would keep the Beavers within a run as UCLA's next batter, Andrea Duran, hit her fifth home run of the season with two outs and a full count, just fair down the left field line at Bulldog Diamond to give UCLA a 2-1 lead.
Oregon State's ninth hitter in the lineup, Natalie Johnson, led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a single, and would advance to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alo. A ground-out by Longfellow gave the Bruins the second out of the inning, but advanced Johnson to third base. She would score easily on the next at-bat, a single to left by Petersen. Vanessa Iapala then pushed a single into shallow right center field and gave the Beavers runners on first and second with two outs. Brianne McGowan then stepped in and dropped a single into center field. With the base runners on the run, Petersen was able to beat the throw in from the outfield and scored the game-winning run to defeat the Bruins by a score of 3-2.
The Bruins return to action later this afternoon with a scheduled 3 pm start against host Fresno State. The game will most likely start late, as the first scheduled game of the day went long and the Bruins and Beavers played longer than the allotted two hours.