May 27, 2004
OKLAHOMA CITY - UCLA (44-9) opened its Women's College World Series with a victory for the first time since the 2001 season on Thursday afternoon, posting an 8-2 win over Stanford (47-18) in Oklahoma City. Keira Goerl struck out seven, Caitlin Benyi hit her 23rd home run of the season and freshman Lisa Dodd went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a double in the game.
Stanford opened the scoring in the top of the first inning as Jackie Rinehart opened the game with a single, advanced to second on a ground-out by Catalina Morris and scored on an RBI double by Jessica Allister, giving the Cardinal a 1-0 lead.
The teams traded zeroes in the second and third innings before a solo home run by Leah Nelson, her sixth of the season, gave the Cardinal a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, however, UCLA answered with six runs on seven hits. The rally started with a walk by Claire Sua, who was replaced by pinch runner Amanda Simpson. Stephanie Ramos followed with a double to left, and Jodie Legaspi followed with an RBI single to right, scoring Simpson. A single up the middle by Ashley Herrera scored Ramos and pinch-runner Tara Henry to give the Bruins a 4-2 lead. Julie Hoshizaki followed with a single to left field that was nearly caught by Jackie Rinehart, giving the Bruins two runners on with Caitlin Benyi at the plate.
Benyi, who was named a first-team All-American at second base on Wednesday night, then posted her 23rd home run of the season, a three-run shot to straightaway center field. That home run gives Benyi sole possession of second place on UCLA's single-season home run list, behind only Stacey Nuveman. Nuveman is the NCAA's career record holder for Division I home runs, and did color commentary for ESPN on Thursday's game. Benyi's HR gave the Bruins a 7-2 lead after four innings.
UCLA added a run in the sixth inning as Andrea Duran drew a four-pitch two-out walk and would come around to score on a double by Dodd, bringing the score to 8-2, UCLA.
Senior three-time All-American Keira Goerl struck out seven batters in her seven innings in the circle, but had plenty of offensive power behind her as the Bruins posted eight runs on 11 hits in the contest. In addition to Benyi's three-run home run, freshman right fielder Lisa Dodd had an impressive offensive day, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a double in the game.
The Bruins advance in the winners bracket to play LSU on Friday at Noon Pacific Time on ESPN. The Tigers advanced with a 3-2 win over Michigan in a 13-inning marathon that immediately preceded the UCLA-Stanford contest. Stanford falls to the losers bracket and will play their next game on Saturday at 9 am PT against Michigan on ESPN.