June 7, 2010
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Senior Megan Langenfeld went 4-for-5 with three RBI and a pair of home runs, including a walk-off bomb in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the fifth-seeded Bruins defeated #10 Arizona 6-5 on Monday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
UCLA improves to 49-11 and is one win away from its 12th national championship and 11th NCAA title. Game 2 is on Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT/7 p.m. CT on ESPN2 HD and ESPN3.com, with Gametracker available on UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins rallied twice, coming back from a run down in the bottom of the seventh after surrendering a 4-2 lead in the top half of the inning. UCLA had 12 hits as a team, with sophomore Andrea Harrison posting a two-hit game.
Sophomore Aleah Macon (12-1) picked up the win in relief, striking out three in two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk. Langenfeld started and pitched six-plus innings, striking out five and giving up five runs, nine hits and five walks.
For the first time in the WCWS, the Bruins saw their opponent score first. With two outs in the top of the first, K'Lee Arredondo and Stacie Chambers drew back-to-back walks and Brigette Del Ponte blooped a single to left to score Arredondo to put the Wildcats up 1-0.
The Bruins had their own two-out rally in the bottom of the first, as Langenfeld sent a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right for her team-leading 18th home run of the season to even the game.
The Wildcats had a chance in the third, but a nice defensive play in center by freshman Devon Lindvall kept the game tied at one. With runners at second and first and two outs, Del Ponte sent another blooper to the outfield in left-center, but Lindvall came in and made a diving catch to end the inning.
UCLA took the lead with a run in the bottom of the third. Junior GiOnna DiSalvatore led off by sending one deep to left that tipped off the outstretched glove of Brittany Lastrapes for a double. After DiSalvatore advanced to third on a wild pitch, she came home one out later when Langenfeld blooped a single to right in front of the sliding attempt by Karissa Buchanan to make it 2-1 Bruins.
The Wildcats tied the game in the top of the fifth on another two-out rally. Lauren Schutzler walked, Arredondo singled up the middle and Chambers singled to right to plate Schutzler to make it 2-all.
The Bruins squandered a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the fifth. Langenfeld singled up the middle with one out and moved to third on a double to left by Andrea Harrison. But Arizona's Kenzie Fowler struck out sophomores Samantha Camuso and Dani Yudin to end the threat.
In the sixth, Langenfeld stranded a pair of Wildcats on base. Lini Koria singled to center to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice by Kristen Arriola. One out later, Buchanan singled to center to put runners at the corners, but Langenfeld struck out Lastrapes to keep the game tied.
The Bruins took the lead again with yet another two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth. With one out and senior Kaila Shull at first, freshman B.B. Bates singled to left to put a pair on base. After both runners moved up on a DiSalvatore groundout, junior Monica Harrison stroked a double that hit the left-field foul line to score Shull and Bates to give UCLA a 4-2 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Schutzler led off with a walk and Arredondo tied it with a homer to left to even the score at four. Chambers followed with a go-ahead homer to center to put the Wildcats on top 5-4.
To keep the theme of the game going, the Bruins once again rallied with two outs in the bottom of the seventh thanks to some breaks given by the Wildcats. After Fowler retired the first two of the inning, miscommunication by the Arizona left and center fielders kept things going. Yudin skied a ball to left-center, but it fell between a colliding Lastrapes and Schutzler to put the Bruin sophomore on second with a double. After the Wildcats walked senior Julie Burney intentionally, Shull lifted a ball to right that tipped off the outstretched glove of Buchanan for a double, as sophomore pinch-runner Marti Reed scored to tie the game at five. Fowler then fanned Bates to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, the Wildcats had the bases loaded, but Macon struck out Chambers looking to keep the game at 5-all.
That setup the heroics for Langenfeld, who hit a 1-0 pitch over the center-field fence with two outs in the bottom of the eighth for her 19th homer of the season and second of the game to put the Bruins one win away from a national championship.
UCLA (49-11) improved to 5-8 all-time against Arizona (52-13) in the Women's College World Series. The win snapped a two-game skid against the Wildcats in WCWS championship game/finals play (lost in 1997 and 2007) ... UCLA moved to 3-1 against Arizona this season. The Bruins took two of three against the Wildcats in the regular-season series May 13-15 in Tucson. All four meetings this year have been decided by one or two runs ... Arizona and UCLA (two each) combined to hit four home runs tonight, the most in a WCWS championship game/finals contest ... Arizona and UCLA combined for 23 hits tonight, the most in a WCWS championship game/finals contest. The previous mark was 22 hits in 1996 (Arizona and Washington) ... The Bruins collected 12 hits in the victory, tying the WCWS championship game/finals record. Arizona recorded 12 hits in 2006 (5-0 win over Northwestern to capture the title) ... UCLA senior pitcher Megan Langenfeld hit two home runs in the contest, becoming only the eighth player in WCWS history to hit two homers in a game. She has three home runs in this year's WCWS and 19 on the year. Her solo shot in the bottom of the eighth won the game ... Langenfeld's homer marked the 28th home run of this year's WCWS (all teams), an event record. The previous record total of 24 was set last year ... The Bruins have 104 home runs on the year, the most in school history ... UCLA has hit a home run in nine consecutive NCAA tournament games, including 10 round trippers at the WCWS (the most by any team in WCWS history). The previous mark of seven homers was set by Georgia last year in five games ... The Bruins have hit two or more home runs in each of their four WCWS games. Their 10 home runs in the event are six more than this year's next highest total ... UCLA recorded a season-high five doubles in tonight's contest. It has a tournament-high 12 doubles in its four WCWS games, six more than Arizona (the Wildcats rank second) ... Neither team committed an error tonight. The last time a championship game/finals contest did not see an error was in 2007 (Tennessee defeated Arizona 3-0 in the first game of the championship finals) ... UCLA has not committed an error in its four WCWS games. The last team to go without an error at the WCWS was DePaul in 2008 (played three games) ... Tonight's 11 combined runs were the most in a WCWS championship game/finals contest since 2008 when Arizona State beat Texas A&M 11-0. The record of 12 runs was set in 1997 when Arizona defeated UCLA 10-2 in five innings for the crown ... This year's WCWS has attracted 56,488 fans through eight sessions. The 7,061-per-session average is on pace to break the record of 6,724 set last year. An attendance of 5,975 is needed Tuesday night to tie the record total of 62,463 set in 2007.
UCLA HEAD COACH Kelly Inouye-Perez
Opening comment: "I've been a part of this sport for a long time and tonight was one of the greatest nights -- if not the greatest night -- of softball that I have ever been a part of. This 2010 team is special. They have a conviction about them and they've been on a mission. Tonight is an example of what we've focused on since day one: competitive excellence. Being able to throw punches, not play with the scoreboard. Tonight was a great example of a team victory. So many different people stepped up in so many different moments. What I always tell them is the game comes back around. We don't get caught up in what happened last inning because it will come back around and you're prepared. You're prepared and big things can happen and you got to see exactly that. I'm just very proud of their ability to fight."
On Aleah Macon's performance out of the bullpen: "Aleah (Macon) came in and did exactly what we needed her to do; just switch up the momentum. We said this from the very start; we have a lot of depth from inside the circle. With that, she came and she stopped the momentum and she allowed us to stay in the ballgame to tie it up and continue to fight. She did exactly what I had hoped that she would do. I'm very proud of her fight. She had some gutsy pitches that she threw."
UCLA SENIOR PITCHER/INFIELDER Megan Langenfeld
On where her walk-off home run ranks in her career moments: "The top. The top memorable moment. Nothing has ever been bigger. I know we still have a game tomorrow but it feels pretty good tonight."
On what Coach John Wooden would've thought about tonight's win: "I think he'd be pretty proud, being able to move on and not necessarily carry one thing into the next. I think there's something special going on right now and he's definitely in our hearts and minds. It's something that we hold dear."
On her injured hand: "My hand feels fine. Yes, there are some cracks in my fingers and it's something that won't stop this team. If I can do anything to help this team, I'll do it. If that means playing first base and hitting, then that's what I'll do. If that means pitching, I'll do that too. As far as pitching tomorrow, that's Coach I's decision. This is a great staff and a great team. We don't rely on one person on the mound. It's a complete team effort.
On treating her cracked fingers: "We tried super glue today and unfortunately the super glue cracked. I super glued my fingers before the game. It cracked while I was warming up. We'll do as much as we can tonight just to treat them and get ready for tomorrow."
UCLA JUNIOR SHORTSTOP Monica Harrison
On what was going through her head on Dani Yudin's pop double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh: "Initially I thought, `Please miss it.' That was all I thought. I saw the ball drop and she ran it out. It was just momentum for us because we scored a run. We didn't really care how it happened. We needed it."