California now owns a 16-53 all-time series record against UCLA, which includes three Pac-10 Conference losses this season. With tonight's dramatic victory, the Golden Bears snapped a losing streak of 16 games to the Bruins that began on April 25, 1998.
California, the defending national champion, has won five consecutive WCWS games and owns a 6-3 record in WCWS openers. Cal has won 13 consecutive postseason games going back to the regional championships in 2002. UCLA is 16-3 in WCWS openers and has lost two consecutive openers.
California had not given up an earned run in 49.2 postseason innings before UCLA senior Natasha Watley scored on senior Tairia Mims' double with two outs in the Bruins half of the third inning.
California sophomore Kelly Anderson's 25-inning scoreless streak that dated back to the team's Pac-10 regular season matchup with Oregon State on May 10 also ended in the third inning.
UCLA senior shortstop Natasha Watley upped her career postseason batting average to .350 (35-for-100) and her career WCWS average to .333 (15-for-45) with a 2-for-5 performance tonight. Watley is hitting .315 (6-for-19) during the 2003 postseason.
UCLA junior starting pitcher Keira Goerl fell to 35-7 with the loss, while Call's Kristina Thorson improved to 15-7.
Goerl had not given up an earned run in 28 innings before Golden Bear freshman LeAnna Hoglen scored on sophomore Kaleo Eldridge's double in the top of the fifth inning. Goerl had thown 6.2 consecutive innings of hitless ball, over two games, before the top of the fifth. Goerl had not given up a home run in 29 consecutive innings before Nelson's shot in the sixth inning.
Eldridge has led the Golden Bears' offensive attack during the postseason with a team-high .427 batting average, two RBIs and four runs scored.
UCLA senior third baseman Tairia Mims picked up her eighth career postseason home run, which leads all current Bruins, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. Mims also leads the Bruins with 24 career postseason RBI's. Mims' homer was her 20th of the season.
California senior first baseman Veronica Nelson upped her school record for career home runs to 54. Her solo blast in the sixth inning moved her up to No. 9 on the NCAA career list, tying the mark of Nicole Myers of Florida Atlantic (1999-02).
California advances to Game 6 Friday at 7 p.m. against No. 3 seed Texas, against whom they have a 0-2 all-time series record. UCLA falls into the losers' bracket and will play Louisiana-Lafayette at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Bruins have defeated the Ragin' Cajuns in their three previous WCWS meetings.