May 19, 2002
COLUMBIA, SC - South Carolina, the host team and third seed at UCLA's NCAA Regional, earned a 2-1 upset victory over UCLA in the first game of Sunday's championship session. The two teams will play a winner-take-all championship game at 2:45 pm Eastern Daylight Time. UCLA will bat as the home team in this final game.
Stacey Nuveman put the Bruins on the board first, hitting a lead-off home run to dead center field in the top of the second inning. It was the 19th home run of the season and 89th home run of her career for Nuveman. Claire Sua would follow with a hard-hit ground ball through the left side for UCLA's second hit of the game. After Erin Rahn came in to pinch-run for Sua, second baseman Crissy Buck injured herself while fouling off the first pitch of her at-bat, bringing Casey Hiraiwa in as an injury replacement to complete the at-bat. She would remain in the game to play second base for Buck. UCLA went to the bottom of the second inning with a 1-0 lead over the Gamecocks.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Gamecocks came storming back, with their leadoff hitter reaching on a Bruin error, followed by an unsuccessful fielders choice, giving South Carolina runners at first and second. Kim Evans followed with a single through the left side to load the bases with one out. Amanda Freed then got the Bruins the second out of the inning with her sixth strikeout of the game before Debralee Troesh grounded out to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
South Carolina had an injured starter of their own in the top of the fourth inning, when Tairia Mims hit a rocket back through the pitching circle, hitting Gamecock pitcher Megan Matthews square on her pitching forearm before third baseman Samantha Jennings picked the ball up to throw out Mims at first base. Matthews was unable to continue in the circle, and was replaced by Aleca Johnson.
The Gamecocks came back in the bottom of the seventh inning with a lead-off double by Adrianna Baggetta. Baggetta would come around to score on a single to right field by Meghan Cornett. Cornett would advance to second on the throw to the plate and go to third on an errant throw by UCLA right fielder Ramos. After Freed recorded her 11th strikeout of the game, Cornett came home on a wild pitch during the at-bat of Samantha Jennings, giving South Carolina the 2-1 victory.
UCLA and South Carolina will play a second, winner-take-all championship game beginning at 2:45 pm Eastern Daylight Time.