Anjelica Selden made three first-inning runs stand up as UCLA moved into the Women's College World Series championship game for the third straight year with a 3-0 win over Texas Sunday evening at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The win moves the Bruins into the title game for the 17th time in its 21 WCWS appearances. UCLA's victory over the Longhorns is the Bruins' 12th straight win in the tournament, and a win in the inaugural best-of-three championship series would give UCLA three-straight national titles for the first time since they did it in 1988, 1989 and 1990.
The Bruins utilized an early potent offensive attack against Texas' freshman starter Meagan Denny. With two out and Tara Henry on first base, Emily Zaplatosch walked to bring up Jodie Legaspi. Legaspi delivered a single to left field that scored Henry. Zaplatosch advanced to second on Legaspi's hit, and moved to third on a throwing error by the left fielder. Another error, this time by the shortstop, allowed Kristen Dedmon to reach while scoring Zaplatosch and moving Legaspi to third. Legaspi then scored on Krista Colburn's single to right.
"I'm proud of how we saw the situation coming into the game, and we capitalized on our opportunities," UCLA head coach Sue Enquist said. "I thought Anjelica was terrific in remaining poised throughout the game. It was a collective effort today. We were very fortunate that we were able to capitalize early, and that was enough for us."
Cat Osterman entered to replace Denny, and she worked out of the jam by getting Lisa Dodd to ground into a fielder's choice. After working 11 innings in the Longhorns' win over Arizona, Osterman hurled the final five and a third and retired all 16 UCLA hitters she faced.
Despite Osterman's valiant effort, the Longhorns couldn't capitalize on a key opportunity in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Jaclyn Daniels reached on an error by Legaspi. After a strikeout by MicKayla Padilla, Tina Boutelle hit a ground ball back to Selden that she threw high and wide of Dodd at first base to put runners at second and third with one away. Selden beared down, however, and struck out Chez Sievers and Desiree Williams to end the threat.
"We had chances and an opportunity, obviously, in the sixth inning, but we couldn't quite push them across," Texas head coach Connie Clark said. "I'm very proud of this team, though. We battled very well and had a great, gritty performance this afternoon that we followed with a tough loss tonight."
UCLA will await either Tennessee or Michigan in Monday night's best-of-three championship series that gets underway Monday at 6:30 p.m.
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