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May 19, 2002

Box Score?|? Quotes?|? Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The UCLA Bruins avenged their loss earlier in the day to the host South Carolina Gamecocks, beating Carolina 1-0 in the NCAA Regional Championship to advance to the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK. South Carolina (46-20) beat the Bruins earlier in the day 2-1, but fell short from pulling off another upset over the top ranked team in the nation.

UCLA (54-7) had only one run off of three hits and committed two errors. The Bruins pitcher Keira Goerl (31-4) had the win pitching a full seven innings with ten strikeouts and no walks. South Carolina had three hits with no errors as Aleca Johnson (9-2) took the loss, pitching a complete game with three walks and four strikeouts.

The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the first inning as UCLA’s short stop Natahsha Watley drew a bases on balls to lead off. Amanda Freed would strike out swinging, giving the Bruins one out. Watley advanced to second and then third on two wild pitches by Aleca Johnson. Tairia Mims was the next batter and drove a double into centerfield, scoring Watley. UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Designated player Claire Sua grounded out to the pitcher, advancing the runners one base. That put the Bruins with two outs and runners on first and third. Stephanie Ramos was the next batter and struck out swinging ending the inning for the Bruins.

South Carolina almost had another comeback when, in the top of the seventh and down 1-0, Amber Curtis singled into right field. Debralee Troesh struck out swinging to give the Gamecocks one out. Adrianna Baggetta hit a sharp grounder to the first baseman and reached first on a fielding error. Curtis would advance to second. Nancy Crane came into pinch run for Curtis. Meghan Cornett struck out swinging giving the Gamecocks two outs and runners on first and second. Tia Rogers came up next and hit a hard hit to left field. UCLA left fielder Erin Rahn barely made the catch while running back towards the fence as the ball hit the heel of her glove and Rahn pulled it in to give the Bruins the victory.

“I’m very proud of what we did today,” said Carolina Head Coach Joyce Compton. “To come out against UCLA, the number one team in the country, and be down 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning and pull it out in the first game, and then almost do the same in the next game, I can’t really ask much more from these kids. They believed that they could do it, right down to the last out.”

“I’m proud of the way we bounced back after that first game,” commented UCLA Head Coach Sue Enquist. “It’s pretty tricky emotionally to recover in such a short time and I felt like we did that. We weren’t real impressive either offensively or defensively, but when we had to get it done, we got it done. South Carolina was impressive to see when their go-to pitcher went down. You really are exposed as a team when a backbone player like that goes down. When Aleca Johnson came in, she did what she had to do. She kept us off-stride and mixed her pitches well and she had a lot of poise. We really had to earn it today.”

The Bruins are advancing to their fourth consecutive NCAA Women’s College World Series Appearance, their 17th trip overall since the NCAA began sponsoring softball in 1982.

2002 NCAA Softball Regional 1 All-Tournament Team Columbia, S.C.

Most Outstanding Player Keira Goerl, Pitcher, UCLA

All-Tournament Team

Kim Wendland, Infielder, Georgia

Michelle Green, Pitcher, Georgia

Kristie Pickeral, Infielder/DP, UMBC

Amanda Freed, Outfield/Pitcher, UCLA

Stacey Nuveman, Catcher, UCLA

Tairia Mims, Infielder, UCLA

Natasha Watley, Infielder, UCLA

Debralee Troesh, Infielder, South Carolina

Meghan Cornett, Infielder, South Carolina

Aleca Johnson, Pitcher, South Carolina

Megan Matthews, Pitcher, South Carolina

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