A three-run sixth inning helped Tennessee knock off top seed UCLA 4-3 to conclude the opening day of action at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Kristi Durant capped the comeback with a base hit that plated the go-ahead run. She then added the insurance run with a single up the middle in the seventh that capped a 2-for-4, two RBI evening.
After being one-hit through the first five frames, UT struck in the sixth with three runs to gain the lead. With one out, India Chiles extended her hitting streak to 12 games with a single. Lindsay Schutzler followed with another base hit, and Tonya Callahan scored Chiles and Schutzler with a hard line drive base hit to left that was misplayed by UCLA left fielder Ashley Herrera. Following a Katherine Card base hit, Durant delivered home Lillian Hammond with the winning run.
The Lady Vols (59-10) extended the lead to 4-2 in the seventh as Durant drove a ground ball up the middle to score Chiles.
Monica Abbott held off a late Bruin rally to pick up the win and move to 42-8 on the year, giving up three runs, two earned, on nine hits with 11 strikeouts. UCLA’s Anjelica Selden suffered the loss, giving up nine hits and four runs with nine strikeouts as she fell to 33-6.
Against the nation’s top defense, UCLA (48-8) capitalized on an error in the first inning for its first run of the game. With one out in the frame, Krista Colburn reached and advanced to second as Sarah Fekete’s throw sailed hit at first base. Caitlin Benyi scored her with her single that immediately followed.
The Bruins added an insurance run in the third. Andrea Duran led off the inning with her sixth triple of the season, and she scored as the next hitter, Colburn, dropped a single over the left side of the infield.
After dropping the lead, UCLA tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh. Benyi scored on a Lisa Dodd base hit, but Abbott got a fielder’s choice groundout to strand the tying run at second base.
The Lady Vols will face Northwestern in an 8 p.m. Friday showdown, while UCLA will take on Alabama Saturday at 1 p.m.