April 7, 2002
TUCSON, AZ - UCLA ended two impressive Arizona softball streaks on Sunday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium with a 6-5 victory over the Wildcats. The Bruins snapped a 70-game home winning streak by UA, and a 60-game undefeated streak by Wildcat pitcher Jennie Finch. The game was played in front of a facility-record 3,161 fans at Arizona's Hillenbrand Stadium. UCLA is now 34-6 (2-3 Pac-10).
UCLA opened the game in style, batting around in the top of the first inning. After Natasha Watley walked, the bases were quickly loaded as Amanda Freed singled, Tairia Mims put down a sacrifice bunt, and the Wildcats pitched around Stacey Nuveman, bringing left fielder Stephanie Ramos to the plate. Ramos delivered, putting a 3-2 pitch over the left field fence for the team's first grand slam of the year. It was the second home run of the season for Ramos.
The Wildcats countered in the bottom of the first inning. Lovieanne Jung led off with a single up the middle, followed by a single to the left side by Courtney Fossatti. A fielders choice to Leneah Manuma loaded the bases for an RBI walk to pitcher Jenny Gladding. Mackenzie Vandergeest followed with a bloop single to right field that dropped between right fielder Crissy Buck and second baseman Monique Mejia, scoring one run. A third run was plated by Jackie Coburn, who lined a single to right to bring the Cats within one run with only one out.
Crystal Farley tied the game on a chopper that bounced over the left side of the infield into shallow left field, scoring Gladding, before the inning ended when Jung lined out to Mims at first base.
Both teams saw their offense cool off for the next two innings, before the Cats took their first lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jung led off with a walk, and was safe at second when the throw for Fossatti's fielders choice went into the outfield. Jung would then score an unearned run from second base on a single by Manuma, giving Arizona the 5-4 lead.
Nuveman countered in the top of the fifth, tying the game with one swing of the bat. She tagged a 1-0 pitch from Finch over the fence in right center field, hitting the scoreboard at Hillenbrand Stadium for her 10th home run of the season and 80th of her Bruin career. She now needs five homers to tie and six to break the NCAA career home run record held by Arizona's Leah Braatz and Laura Espinoza.
UCLA threatened in the sixth inning on a leadoff stand-up double by Buck, who was replaced by pinch runner Amanda Simpson. Simpson advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Toria Auelua, but the Bruins could not capitalize, as pinch-hitter Casey Hiraiwa struck out and Watley grounded out to Finch to end the inning.
Nuveman provided an encore performance in the top of the seventh inning, bouncing a Finch pitch off the top of the Hillenbrand Stadium scoreboard, her 11th home run of the season, 81st of her career and second of the day, giving the Bruins a 6-5 lead. The two-out rally continued, as Ramos chopped a single up the middle, but she would not advance past first base, as Sua lined out to end the half inning.
That second home run by Nuveman proved to be the difference, as Goerl recorded her seventh and eighth strikeouts of the game to seal the win in the bottom of the seventh.
The Bruins return to action on Friday, April 12 with a 2 pm first pitch at Easton Stadium against No. 3 Stanford. UCLA will complete the weekend schedule with games on Saturday and Sunday against No. 6 California.