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2001 Women's College World Series: Day Two

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

Claire Sua and Toria Auelua slammed fifth-inning home runs to accountfor all the runs in UCLA's 5-0 victory. Tairia Mims led off the fourthiknning with a double and Stacey Nuveman was intentionally walked. Sua confounded that strategy with a three-run homer that gavethe Bruins the lead. Later in the inning, Amanda Freed singled andToria Auelua homered to extend UCLA's lead to 5-0. UCLA freshman pitcherKeira Goerl turned in an outstanding starting appearance, shutting theCardinal out on three hits during her five-inning stint. In threestarts against Stanford this year, Goerl is 3-0 and has yet toallow a run.

UCLA COACH SUE ENQUIST: "It was great to see us do a lot of good things tonight. I was happy with Kiera's (Goerl) performance. I felt like we played some great defense and it was nice to see us come through with some hits in the clutch. You don't have to have a lot of hits, you just have to have them in the right places and we did that tonight."

STANFORD COACH JOHN RITTMAN: "It's a little different feeling tonight than last night (a 2-1 Stanford win over LSU). One night, you're on top of the world, the next night the world is caving in around you. That's the great thing about this game. We lost to a very good team tonight, but we'll just get ready for tomorrow."

Nicole Giordano scored from second on a throwing error and Jennie Finch got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth inning as Arizona overcame a four-run deficit to defeat Oklahoma 5-4 in eight innings. Oklahoma broke a scoreless tie as Jennifer Stump's three-run homer in the fourth gave the Sooners a 3-0 lead. Oklahoma extended the lead to 4-0 one inning later as Lakisha Washington lined a solo home run to center field. The home run was the second of the year for Washington. Jennifer Stewart held Arizona to one hit until the sixth inning when Erika Hanson and Giordano singled, and Mascarenas homered to left to pull the Wildcats within 4-3. The home run was Mascarenas' 23rd of the season and her second three-run blast in as many games in the WCWS. Freshman Mackenzie Vandergeest then led off the top of the seventh with a home run to tie the game 4-4. Oklahoma threatened in the bottom of the seventh with two-out singles by Kelli Braitsch and Christy Ring, but Finch induced a foul out to end the inning. Giordano singled to lead off the top of the eighth and moved to second on Mascarenas' sacrifice. After Leneah Manuma was intentionally walked to put runners on second and third, Finch hit a grounder to Washington, the second baseman. Washington flipped to Braitsch to get the force at second, but Braitsch's throw to first to double up Finch was wide of the mark, allowing Giordano to score and give Arizona its first lead. Oklahoma mounted another rally in the bottom of the eighth as one-out singles by Stump and Erin Evans, and a two-out walk to Leah Gulla loaded the bases, bringing up Washington. After falling behind 0-2 on the count, Washington hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Allison Andrade, whose throw to first beat Washington by a half-step. Both teams entered the game with 23-game winning streaks, as Arizona extends its streak to 24 consecutive wins. Finch recorded nine strikeouts, while Stewart struck out eight. Arizona gets Saturday off, then plays its next game Sunday at noon. Oklahoma takes on the winner of Game 8 (LSU/Iowa) Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

ARIZONA COACH MIKE CANDREA: "Anything I'd say would be an understatement. I've seen these seniors do some crazy and tremendous things. I didn't see any panic on this team, just determination."

ARIZONA COACH MIKE CANDREA: "It was a tremendous college softball game. I'm glad it was on TV."

ARIZONA PITCHER JENNIE FINCH: "I love my team. They pulled through for me again."

OKLAHOMA COACH PATTY GASSO: "There's no funeral here. We're not dead, we're still fighting."

OKLAHOMA COACH PATTY GASSO: "It was a tough game to lose, but I know it had to be a fun game to watch. To me, this was a national championship game you just witnessed. It's the kind of game that will draw more fans in. It had everything."

OKLAHOMA SHORTSTOP KELLI BRAITSCH on the throwing error: "We play aggressive and we needed to end the inning. She (baserunner Lisha Ribellia) nailed me good. She did exactly what she was supposed to do."

 

DAY TWO NOTES

 

IMPORTANCE OF GAMES 5 AND 6: Since 1994, when the Women's College World Series adapted its current format of having the first-round winners play in Game Nos. 5 and 6, the winners of Games 5 and 6 faced off in the national championship game in six out of seven years. Only UCLA in 1997 advanced to the championship game without winning Game 5 or 6. And no team has ever won the national championship without winning Game 5 or 6.

FINCH GUNNING FOR PERFECTION: Arizona pitcher Jennie Finch's quest for a perfect season was in jeopardy with the Wildcats trailing Oklahoma 4-0 entering the sixth inning, but thanks to a late rally, Finch extended her season record to 31-0. Finch has a shot at becoming only the third Division I pitcher to complete an undefeated season (minimum 25 victories) and the first to do so with at least 30 wins. Coincidentally, the previous two undefeated seasons took place in the same year. Lisa Fernandez (UCLA) posted a 29-0 record and Rebecca Aase (Florida State) went 28-0 in 1992.

SENIOR EXPLOSION FOR MASCARENAS: In her first three years, Arizona third baseman Toni Mascarenas hit a total of 18 home runs. In her senior year, Mascarenas has belted 24 home runs so far, including a pair of three-run homers at this year's WCWS.

SUA MAKING PITCHERS PAY: Coaches playing against UCLA may start thinking twice about intentionally walking Stacey Nuveman to get to No. 5 hitter Claire Sua. In two games, Sua has driven in five of the Bruins' seven runs, all after Nuveman was intentionally walked. Against Iowa Thursday, Sua's two-run bases-loaded in the sixth inning was the difference in the Bruins' 2-0 victory. Friday against Stanford, Sua broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a three-run homer.

SOONERS' STREAKS END: Oklahoma saw a number of streaks come to an end Friday in its dramatic 5-4 loss to Arizona Friday. The loss was the first ever for Oklahoma in the Women's College World Series and ended a streak of 13 consecutive postseason victories for the Sooners. The loss also snapped Oklahoma's 23-game winning streak, dating back to April 1. The Sooners also suffered their first extra-inning loss since an 11-inning loss to Nebraska on April 14, 2000. In addition, Oklahahoma had gone 18 consecutive games without allowing more than two runs in a contest. And pitcher Jennifer Stewart saw her personal 18-game winning streak come to an end in the loss.

CATCHERS 6, BASE STEALERS 5: Through six games, catchers have thrown out six of 11 runners attempting to steal bases.