It hasn't exactly been the weather that the eggheads at the NCAA were planning on when they selected Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas to host the men's national championship tourney, but with the weather clearing up, the first round is finally in the books, with UCLA in a four-way tie for ninth place at 279 (-1), along with Washington, LSU, and Berkeley. South Carolina finished on top of the leaderboard at 272 (-8) with Oklahoma (273, -7), Auburn (274, -6), and Alabama (274, -6) right behind them. The men headed back out to the links this morning, with tee time set for around 7 a.m. PST. You can check in with the live-updated leaderboard here.
Heading back to Westwood, our Lady Bruins softball team will take on the #14-seeded Kentucky Wildcats at Easton Stadium this afternoon after pulling out a dramatic, late-game, come-from-behind 6-4 win over Kentucky on Saturday evening. Ally Carda (7.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 K, 1 BB, 5 H) put together a solid complete game, but made a huge mistake in the top of the third, giving up a grand slam to Kentucky's Griffin Joiner, which put Kentucky ahead 4-2. From then, it became a pitcher's duel between Carda and Kentucky's Kelsey Nunley (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, 7 BB, 4 H), until the bottom of the sixth. Jessica Hall (1-2, 2 R) led off the inning with a double, followed by an error by Kentucky in center field, putting Hall on third and Alyssa Tiumalu (0-1, 1 R) on second. Fearing the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Nunley intentionally walked Carda to load the bases with two outs to face SS Delaney Spaulding (1-4, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 HR), who was 0-3 on the day. But with one swing of the bat, Spaulding drove one well beyond the fence in deep left field, bringing home four to give UCLA the lead for good at 6-4.
Now, the Bruins need just one more win from either of today's games against the Kentucky Wildcats to advance to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. For more information on the series, you can check out the preview at the official site here. First pitch for Game 2 is slated for noon PST at Easton Stadium, and if necessary, first pitch for Game 3 is set for 3 p.m. PST. If you can't make it out there on this gorgeous Southern California afternoon (which there's no excuse for you not to, since you can not only catch softball action but also take in the always-excellent Jazz Reggae Festival on campus this weekend), you can catch the game live on ESPNU, or listen in live through the official site.
We have two more teams on the march toward UCLA's 112th NCAA national championship, so let's keep our fingers crossed and fire away with your thoughts, takes, and analysis as our men's golf team and softball team keep pushing for another Bruin national title.