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Cathi Aradi

WCWS: Gators Eliminate UCLA, 2-0

 OKLAHOMA CITY – An unearned run in the first inning and an insurance tally in the sixth turned out to be plenty of offense for top-seeded Florida as the Gators defeated second-seeded UCLA by a score of 2-0 on Saturday evening at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. 

Florida (69-4) extends its NCAA-record total of wins in a single season and advances to face Texas A&M on Semifinal Sunday at Noon CDT. UCLA concludes its season with a 51-9 record. 

With Arizona and UCLA having been eliminated from the WCWS in consecutive games, this marks the first time since 1986 that neither Arizona nor UCLA will appear in the NCAA Championship Game/Series. 

Florida, batting as the home team, struck first with an unearned run in the top of the first inning. Kim Waleszonia walked to lead off the game, stole second and scored from that position on UCLA’s lone error of the contest. 

Despite having a run on the board, the Gators didn’t earn their first hit off of UCLA ace Anjelica Selden until there were two outs in the fourth inning when Tiffany DeFelice singled down the left field line. The Gators would add an insurance run in the sixth when Ali Gardiner singled, pinch-runner Le-Net Franklin stole second and came home on a single by Francesca Enea to make the score 2-0. 

UCLA accumulated five hits in the game, three by junior second baseman Amanda Kamekona, but were unable to get a timely hit to plate a run. 

Selden took the loss for UCLA, finishing her senior season with a 29-5 record. She struck out nine and walked two while allowing three hits and two walks. 

Florida’s Stacey Nelson improves to 47-4 with the win. She struck out five and walked one, scattering five hits over her seven innings in the circle. 

“We have 10 hours to savor this victory,” said Florida head coach Tim Walton. “This is a huge win in our program’s history. UCLA and the Women’s College World Series go hand in hand.”