Bruins Win Second Consecutive NCAA Softball Championship
May 31, 2004
OKLAHOMA CITY - UCLA (47-9) successful defended its NCAA Championship on Monday night in Oklahoma City in the first-ever title game played in prime time. UCLA trailed 1-0 for five innings before a solo home run by Claire Sua and a two-RBI single by freshman pinch hitter Kristen Dedmon provided all the runs that senior pitcher Keira Goerl needed as she became just the second pitcher in NCAA Division I history to win multiple title games.
California opened the scoring in the top of the first inning as Lindsay James drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a single by Haley Woods. After Kaleo Eldredge struck out for the second out of the inning, Jessica Pamanian hit a ground ball down the third base line that hit the bag and went into left field, allowing James to score the first run of the game to give California the 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, California's Kelly Anderson was throwing a perfect game in the circle, retiring the first 12 UCLA batters that she faced in the game. Through the first three innings, Anderson had recorded four strikeouts as she retired each batter in the UCLA lineup at least once.
However, the Bruins led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a bang. Senior 1B Claire Sua tattooed the first pitch of the inning well over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1. Anderson then proceeded to hit Stephanie Ramos with a 2-1 pitch and issued a full-count walk to Jodie Legaspi to give the Bruins two runners on with no outs. Ramos was replaced by pinch runner Amanda Simpson, while Legaspi was replaced by Tara Henry to run the bases. The pair advanced 60 feet apiece on a sacrifice bunt by Emily Zaplatosch to record the first out of the inning before designated player Michelle Turner struck out for the second out.
Henry slid around Cal catcher Haley Woods, barely touching the back corner of home plate. However, plate umpire Michael Mazur called obstruction on Woods on the play, which automatically awards the base to the runner and in this instance scored UCLA's third run of the game.
That was all the offense that Keira Goerl would need, as she was able to record the last six defensive outs of the game to become just the second player in NCAA Division I Softball Championship history to win more than one title game. She joins Bruin great Debbie Doom (1982, '84, '85) and Arizona's Susie Parra (1993, '94) as the only pitchers in Championship history to be the winning pitcher in multiple championship games. Goerl recorded four strikeouts, walked three and allowed just one run in Monday's title game.
This is UCLA's 93rd NCAA Championship in school history, and is the third NCAA title won by a Bruin team this year, as Women's Gymnastics won in Pauley Pavilion last April and Women's Golf won an NCAA title just over a week ago.
UCLA Softball has now won 10 NCAA Championships and 11 total National Championships, including a 1978 AIAW title. UCLA is the first team to defend its NCAA title since Arizona accomplished the feat in 1996 and '97.
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