March 24, 2013
LOS ANGELES - Down 5-0, the 12th-ranked Bruins clawed back to within a run with two in the fourth and two in the sixth, but fell one shy in a 5-4 loss to #2 Arizona State on Sunday at Easton Stadium. Freshman Britney Rodriguez had two of UCLA's five hits, including a two-run homer.
Senior B.B. Bates, junior Jessica Hall and sophomore Stephany LaRosa also had hits for the Bruins (24-6, 1-2 Pac-12), who had five. In the circle, freshman Paige McDuffee (5-1) suffered the loss, striking out two in three innings and allowing two runs, six hits and one walk. Hall pitched four frames of relief, fanning two and giving up three runs, five hits and four walks.
Arizona State (31-3, 2-1), which left five on base through the first two innings, including the bases loaded in the second, broke through with a pair of runs in the third. With one out, Haley Steele was hit by a pitch, but was forced out at second on a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of Elizabeth Caporuscio. Nikki Girard followed with her second homer of the weekend to left to put the visitors on the board.
In the fourth, the Sun Devils added three more. Bailey Wigness walked to open the inning, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a double to right-center by Alix Johnson to make it 3-0. After Cheyenne Coyle sacrificed Johnson to third, Amber Freeman dropped a bloop single to right to bring in Arizona State's fourth run. One out later, Caporuscio kept the inning going with another bloop hit to right to move pinch-runner Allie Butterfield to third, while yet another blooper, this time to left from Girard, scored Butterfield to make it 5-0.
The Bruins began their comeback in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Hall singled to left and Rodriguez belted a 3-2 offering out to left for her third homer of the season to cut the deficit to 5-2.
After Arizona State left two more in the sixth, the Bruins scored twice in their half of the sixth to bring them to within one. LaRosa led off the inning with her eighth homer of the season to center on a 3-1 pitch to make it 5-3. That was followed by walks to sophomore Ally Carda and Hall. A ground out to short off the bat of Rodriguez got the Sun Devils their first out, but moved Carda to third and Hall to second. Freshman Brittany Moeai then tapped a ball to second. Sam Parlich made a diving stop to prevent the ball from going into the outfield, which likely would have tied the game. Parlich threw out Moeai at first for out number two, as Carda scored to make it 5-4. ASU's Mackenzie Popescue would retire sophomore Sam Duran on a grounder to the right side to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Bruins had the tying and winning runs on base following a pair of one-out walks to sophomore Gracie Goulder and Bates. LaRosa then skied a deep fly ball to the warning track in right for the second out, as Goulder tagged to put runners at the corners for Carda. However, Popescue induced Carda into a sharp grounder to second to end the game.
The Bruins are on the road next week for an Easter weekend series at 15th-ranked Stanford. Next Thursday and Friday's games, which are both 7 p.m. starts, will air live on Pac-12 Networks. Saturday's series-ending matchup will begin at 12 p.m. Gametracker will be available at UCLABruins.com, as well as live updates at twitter.com/uclasoftball.