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2001 Women's College World Series: Day Four

For complete information on the 2001 Women's College World Series,  click here.

Four consecutive third-inning hits accounted for five runs in UCLA's 6-0 win over LSU. The win advances UCLA to tomorrow's championship game against Arizona and elimiantes LSU from the tournament. After the Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Courtney Dale's run-scoring infield single, they cranked up the offense in the third. With one out and runners at first and second, Claire Sua and Courtney Dale each smacked RBI singles. Amanda Freed followed with a run-scoring double and Toria Auelua finished the damage with a two-run double. UCLA starting pitcher Freed allowed only one hit, a fifth-inniing single by Julie Wiese, before being relieved by Dale at the start of the sixth inning.

UCLA COACH SUE ENQUIST:"Our goal today was to come and be loose. So often, when you get this close to your goal, you tighten up but this team did a great job of living in the moment. The quality of clubs (UCLA and Arizona) that will be there tomorrow will elevate softball. They've got speed, power and pitching and so do we. I can't wait to get out there and go at it."

UCLA OUTFIELDER/PITCHER COURTNEY DALE: "We just want to go out and play our game and be aggressive. We've got a lot of good momentum now. We're hitting the ball and playing good defense."

LSU COACH YVETTE GIROUARD: "We hit a wall when UCLA scored those five runs. UCLA was truly better than us and that was the outcome. You've got to bring your "A" game to beat them and we didn't bring our "A" game today."

Becky Lemke tossed a one-hit shutout and Toni Mascarenas' first-inning two-out solo home run provided all the offense necessary as Arizona defeated Stanford 1-0 to advance to Monday's championship game. The home run by Mascarenas was her 25th of the season and third of the Women's College World Series, tying a series record. Lemke, making her first appearance in the series, held Stanford hitless for 3.2 innings before Sarah Beeson's single with two outs in the fourth inning prevented the no-hitter. Lemke retired 10 of the final 11 batters, with the only baserunner reaching on an error. Stanford pitchers Tori Nyberg, Jamie Forman-Lau and Dana Sorensen combined on a two-hitter. Forman-Lau and Sorensen held Arizona hitless over the final four innings. With the win, Arizona reaches the championship game for the first time 1998, when the Wildcats were runners-up to Fresno State. Stanford completes its first ever WCWS appearance with a top four finish.

ARIZONA COACH MIKE CANDREA: "My hat's off to Becky (Lemke). She threw a tremendous ballgame -- not just a great ballgame, a tremendous ballgame."

ARIZONA COACH MIKE CANDREA: "This is where we wanted to be. I'm not going to complain about the lack of offense today because a win's a win."

ARIZONA THIRD BASEMAN TONI MASCARENAS when asked if she's in a zone after her hitting her record-tying third home run of the series: "I don't know. I only have three hits."

STANFORD COACH JOHN RITTMAN: "We couldn't get the hit when we needed to, but it was a fantastic year and I'm really proud of the team."

 

DAY FOUR NOTES

 

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE... While "parity" has become a buzzword in college softball and more teams are making their first ever appearances in the Women's College World Series in recent years (DePaul and Southern Mississippi in 1999, Alabama and Oklahoma in 2000, LSU and Stanford in 2001), the final comes down to Arizona and UCLA for the sixth time in the last 11 championships. Arizona leads the head-to-head championship game series 3-2, although UCLAÕs 1995 championship was vacated by the NCAA. This year's championship game marks the first time since the 1997 championship game that Arizona and UCLA have faced each other in any game at the Women's College World Series.

SEASON SERIES BETWEEN CATS AND BRUINS: Arizona won two of three games in this year's series between Arizona and UCLA. The two teams split at UCLA (Arizona 4-0, UCLA 3-0) and the Wildcats won 4-0 at home.

SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE: UCLA has yet to allow a run at this year's Women's College World Series. Arizona's Toni Mascarenas has homered in every game sheÕs played at this yearÕs series. One of these streaks will come to an end Monday.

FINCH GUNS FOR PERFECTION: If Arizona pitcher Jennie Finch gets the win or a no-decision in Monday's championship game, she will become the first pitcher in NCAA softball history to finish the season undefeated with at least 30 wins. Finch is currently 31-0 overall and 2-0 in the WCWS. Two other Division I pitchers, UCLA's Lisa Fernandez (29-0) and Florida State's Rebecca Aase (28-0) went undefeated in 1992 (minimum 25 decisions).

WILL CATS PITCH TO NUVEMAN?: UCLA catcher -- and 2000 Olympian -- Stacey Nuveman has not had many opportunities to swing the bat at this yearÕs Women's College World Series, having been intentionally walked six times in three games. In her three games agains Arizona this year, Nuveman was 1-for-5 with one RBI (sacrifice fly) and two walks -- one intentional. Claire Sua, who drove in five of UCLA's first seven runs in this year's WCWS after Nuveman was intentionally walked, was 0-for-7 in three games against Arizona this season.

NO FIRST-TIME CHAMP THIS YEAR: This year marks the first time since 1997 that both WCWS finalists have won previous national championships. Fresno State won its first ever national title in 1998 and Oklahoma became a first-time champion last year, while 1999 runner-up came within one win of its first national title.

CATCHERS 13, BASE STEALERS 7: Catchers continue to flex their muscle at the Women's College World Series, throwing out 65 percent of the runners who have attempted to steal. After throwing out six of 11 base stealers in the first two days, catchers have thrown out seven of the last nine would-be base stealers in Saturday's and Sunday's games.

FROM TOP SIX TO TOP FOUR TO TOP TWO: Six of the eight teams in this year's Women's College World Series were ranked Nos. 1-6 in the final regular season USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25. The two WCWS participants not ranked in the top six -- No. 21 Michigan and No. 15 Iowa -- were the first two to be eliminated. The remaining teams have been eliminated in the order they're ranked: No. 6 California, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 4 Stanford and No. 3 LSU.

NEWCOMERS MAKE MARK AT WCWS: Despite making their first ever appearance at the WomenÕs College World Series, LSU and Stanford finished tied with each other for third place. LSU posted wins over Iowa and defending national champion Oklahoma, while falling to Stanford and eventual finalist UCLA. Stanford defeated LSU and California, while suffering losses to both national finalists, Arizona and UCLA.