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UCLA Uses Six-Run Fourth to Knock Off Stanford at WCWS

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The opening game of the 2004 Women’s College World Series proved to be a pitcher’s duel, but Thursday’s second game between UCLA and Stanford proved to be the total opposite as the Bruins exploded for six runs in the fourth inning to knock off the Cardinal 8-2. 

“It was good to get this first game under our belt. It was good to see us come out and play good softball on day one,” Bruins head coach Sue Enquist said. “I was pleased with our performance. I like that we were poised when we got down early in the game, and I like how we battled back.” 

The Bruins (44-9) didn’t have an easy time of it until the six-run fourth, as Stanford (47-18) pushed out to a couple of leads early in the contest. 

The Cardinal got on the board in the top of the first as Jackie Rinehart led off with a single and then scored two hitters later as Jessica Allister doubled. 

The Bruins answered in the bottom half of the opening frame. Following an Andrea Duran double, Lisa Dodd, appearing in her first WCWS game, collected the first of her three hits and the first of her pair of RBIs on a single up the middle. 

“I had butterflies, probably like the rest of our freshmen,” Dodd said. “I try not to think of these games as different from any other. I don’t want to make a bigger game out of these than usual.” 

Stanford regained the lead in the top of the fourth as Leah Nelson launched a home run over the left field fence. 

“We’ve played UCLA three times this year, so I’ve seen Keira (Goerl) a few times,” Nelson said. “I backed off the plate a little, tried to see the ball a little and luckily just got a hold of one. I had a long at-bat before, and that helped me out because I saw a lot of pitches. I was pretty confident going into the at-bat.” 

That lead, like the first, would be short-lived as the Bruins responded with the six-run fourth. 

Jodie Legaspi got the inning’s scoring started as she singled to score pinch runner Amanda Simpson. Ashley Herrera continued the offensive assault for UCLA as she singled up the middle to score a pair of runs. Caitlin Benyi and Lisa Dodd capped the inning as Benyi hit her 23rd home run of the year, a three-run blast to center, followed by Dodd’s RBI single that capped the scoring. 

The Bruins added an additional run in the sixth as Dodd doubled to left field to score Andrea Dunn who walked. 

Keira Goerl picked up the win to move to 28-7 on the year. She gave up two runs on six hits and struck out seven in the complete-game outing. Laura Severson fell to 13-8 as she allowed seven runs on eight hits in relief of starter Dana Sorensen. 

“Dana (Sorensen) started out and threw well for two innings. She didn’t have her best stuff, and UCLA has seen her three times this year,” Stanford head coach John Rittman said. “I thought Laura (Severson) pitched well, but she just had that one bad inning. It was great experience for her. It’s a long tournament, so we’ll bounce back.” 

The Cardinal take on LSU Saturday in an elimination contest at 11 a.m. CDT Saturday. The Bruins face Michigan Friday at 2 p.m. 

Notes From the Diamond 

- UCLA now holds a 40-8 edge in the series with Stanford. The Bruins are 3-1 against the Cardinal this season. 
- The Bruins’ win marks the first time UCLA has won its opener in the WCWS since 2001. 
- UCLA’s Caitlin Benyi homered for the third straight game. She also has a 12-game hit streak during which she has posted 20 hits, 15 RBIs and eight home runs. Her home run Thursday gave her sole possession of second place on UCLA’s single-season home run record list. 
- Stanford junior Leah Nelson’s home run extended her hitting streak to eight games. Over her last five games she has recorded three home runs and seven RBIs. 
- Jessica Allister’s RBI double moved her into a tie for third on Stanford’s single-season RBI list with 53, four short of second place.