May 18, 2002
COLUMBIA, SC - A walk-off home run by Tairia Mims gave UCLA a 2-1 eight-inning victory over second-seeded Georgia on Saturday night in a game that had been delayed for five hours due to rain. Mims hit a 2-0 curve ball from Bulldog starter Michelle Green over the right field fence for an opposite field home run, her 13th homer of the season. The victory puts UCLA in Sunday's NCAA Regional Championship Game, where the Bruins need only win one of a possible two games to advance to the 2002 Women's College World Series.
For the first six innings of the game, fans were treated to a pitchers duel, where Green took a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth inning while UCLA's Keira Goerl racked up 12 strikeouts without walking a batter.
Georgia threatened in the top of the fourth inning, with a one-out bunt single by Kim Wendland. Two Bruin errors followed, as an off-balance pick-off throw by Stacey Nuveman went into right field, advancing Wendland to second, and an infield error allowed pitcher Michelle Green to reach first, although Wendland did stay at second base. UCLA recovered well, however, with a fielders choice getting an out at third base before Keira Goerl recorded her sixth strikeout of the game to end the inning and the threat.
The Bulldogs would get on the board first, scoring an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning, taking advantage of two Bruin errors in the frame. Speedster Nicole Barber led off the inning by reaching on an error, and advanced to second on a single by Wendland. Georgia loaded the bases when Green was hit by a pitch, and Barber would come home on a fielders choice by Shannon McKeon, with the out at third base. Goerl would get out of the jam allowing just one run, getting Kristen Bell to ground out to end the inning with Georgia leading 1-0.
UCLA threatened to end the game in the seventh inning, loading the bases with one out on a walk to Crissy Buck, a single by Stephanie Ramos and a walk to Monique Mejia, but the Bruins could not push a run across, sending the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Barber led off for the Bulldogs, and reached on a dropped fly ball in the Bruin outfield, UCLA's fourth error of the game. Barber would steal second, and after Goerl's 12th strikeout of the game, was doubled off when Wendland lined out to Bruin second baseman Crissy Buck, who was able to throw Barber out at second base to end the inning.
Mims stepped to the plate to lead off the eighth for the Bruins, and after taking two pitches for balls, she put a 2-0 curve ball over the right field fence, just left of the foul pole, to give the Bruins the 2-1 eighth inning victory.
UCLA will play its next game on Sunday at noon, Eastern Daylight Time against either Georgia or host South Carolina. The Bruins, who are undefeated in tournament play, need to win one game in order to advance to their 18th Women's College World Series.