With two outs in the top of the first, Aaliyah Jordan put UCLA on the scoreboard with a home run to right field. It was the first of an sixteen-run explosion for the Bruins as UCLA cruised to an easy 16-3 win over the top-seeded Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma tied it up in the bottom of the second when Rachel Garcia gave up her only run of the game on a solo home run to right. For the game, Garcia finished with just the one run on three hits and no walks before yielding to Megan Faraimo to start the sixth when UCLA was up 11-1.
As it turned out, the second inning was the only inning the Bruins didn’t score in.
In the third, UCLA bucked the trend of the game and played small ball. Kinsley Washington singled to start the inning. Kelli Godin followed and reached on an error which allowed Washington to score. Bubba Nickles then hit an RBI single which scored Godin to make it 3-1, Bruins.
In the fourth, Colleen Sullivan hit a one-out single and she came home on Washington’s two-out RBI double. That would be all the Bruins needed, but it didn’t stop the UCLA offense.
Bubba Nickles walked to start the fifth inning and Jordan hit a one-out single which moved Nickles to third. With two outs, Taylor Pack hit an RBI single which brought Nickles in.
UCLA’s biggest inning of the game came in the sixth. With the score 5-1, the Bruins added six runs, but the mercy rule does not apply in the Championship Series. UCLA’s rally started when Brianna Tautalafua ended her slump with a no-doubt homer over the left field fence. Washington laid down a bunt for a hit. She moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Godin and she took third on a passed ball. After Nickles walked, Briana Perez came to the plate and slapped a three-run homer to left and it was 9-1, UCLA. The rally continued when Jordan walked, bringing up Garcia, who launched a shot into the left field stands. The game headed to the seventh with the Bruins ahead 11-1.
Kelly Inouye-Perez wisely decided to give Garcia the rest of the night off and brought in Megan Faraimo to pitch the sixth. She gave up a solo shot in the sixth that closed the gap to 11-2, Bruins.
But, in the top of the seventh, UCLA got that run back and then some. Tautalafua reached on an error to start the rally before having Danae Blodgett pinch-run for her. Washington hit an infield single and the Bruins had runners on first and second. Julie Rodriguez pinch-hit for Godin as Inouye-Perez started to clear her bench and Rodriguez doubled bringing Blodgett and Washington home. Stevie Wisz pinch-ran for Rodriguez and she scored when Bubba Nickles singled to right-center. Perez doubled to right, giving the Bruins runners on second and third and still no outs. The final runs for UCLA scored when Garcia hit a one-out single which scored Nickles and Perez. That five-run barrage gave the Bruins the record for most runs scored in a Championship Series game and a 16-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the seventh.
Holly Azevedo relieved Faraimo for the seventh and gave up the Sooner’s final run before getting the final out.
UCLA is now just one win away from the Bruins’ 118th national championship. They will attempt to capture that one tomorrow, starting at 5:30 pm PT on ESPN.