“UCLA turns back Oregon 7-1 in WCWS” Written By Bill Plummer
OKLAHOMA CITY — Mike White, Oregon head softball coach, knows he has a talented team but he also would like some luck after his Ducks lost 7-1 on Thursday in the Women's College World Series before a crowd of 8,360.
Dropped into the loser's bracket with the loss to UCLA, the Ducks have a long road back, needing to win two elimination games Saturday, then two more on Sunday to reach the three-game championship series starting Monday. Oregon will face Alabama, which lost earlier to Michigan, in an elimination game Saturday (11:30 a.m. PT, ESPN).
Oregon hasn't lost two consecutive games in more than two years and now are 51-7 after the loss to the Bruins, who hit a pair of solo homers, then sealed the win with a five-run sixth inning. The Bruins are back in the WCWS for the first time in five years after winning the 2010 national title, and overall have won 11 NCAA national championships.
Said White,” At this stage it really comes down to again getting a little bit of luck. And you've got to
have the talent. We had the talent, we didn't get the luck. UCLA played very well, excellent defense, Ally Carda made some excellent pitches. But that's the story of game.”
“Now we have to come out and rebound, and get after Alabama. Play for our life, so to speak.”
UCLA collected nine hits and took the lead early when Stephany LaRosa homered to lead off the second inning and Gabrielle Maurice took the ball out of the park with two outs. UCLA added five insurance runs in the sixth and looked like UO starter Cheridan Hawkins was going to get out of trouble after giving up two singles, but a two-out fly ball went in and out of right fielder Alyssa Gillespie's glove to keep the rally going.
Lady Luck wasn't on the Ducks' side as Janie Takeda was thrown out trying to take third on Jenna Lilley's one-single in the first inning. The Ducks got a pair of runners on in the third, but Takeda lined a shot back to Carda who made the play to start a twin killing.
Carda allowed six hits in getting her 32nd win of the year against only six losses. She walked one and struck out three in hurling 125 pitches in the game which was delayed by a lightning threat for 49 minutes between the second and third innings. Carda also had two hits in four at-bats.
“You can go back over the game thousands of times in your head and think about what happened, what you could have done,” said Takeda, who is 1-for-12 since the start of Super Regionals. “The most important thing now is to take the positives, reflect on mistakes and fix them next time we step on the field.”
Oregon loaded the bases in the fourth with two out, but UCLA's Mysha Satraraka snagged Gillespie's shot down the third base line, touching third base to end the inning. Allexis Bennett also starred on defense for the Bruins when she grabbed a low liner hit by Nikka Udria in the fifth inning.
Oregon avoided a shutout in the bottom of the seventh when Koral Costa doubled and tallied on Lauren Lindvall's single. The Ducks have been shutout only once this season.
“They never quit,” White said. “They keep trying, keep trying. The game comes down to inches; is just didn't go our way today. The biggest thing for us now is bouncing back and getting ready to play Alabama.”
Oregon, which beat UCLA in April, hasn't lost two consecutive games since May 9-10, 2013 against Arizona State.
“We're pretty determined,” Hawkins said. “At moments today we didn't make every pitch count, (but) we do a good job of learning from our mistakes. The most we can do is compete on Saturday. Obviously nobody likes losing. We're going to come out aggressive, attack, play Oregon softball and see what happens.” Hawkins hurled five and two thirds innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs, all earned. She's now 30-4 for the season. Karissa Hovinga hurled the remainder of the game, allowing one hit.
Only two teams have won the Women's College World Series after losing their opening game. The last was UCLA in 2003.
|Bill Plummer A graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than four decades. For 30years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian. In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show Manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2009, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2014, ” A Series of Their Own. The History of the Women's College World Series.” He has been elected to five halls of fame, including the ASA National. In 1996, he served as the Information Manager for the debut of softball in the Olympics.|
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