Ole Miss softball unable to hang on against UCLA

Published 1:58 am Friday, May 26, 2017

From school reports

LOS ANGELES – Down to their last strike on two occasions, the fifth-seeded Bruins tied the game in the seventh and equaled it again in the 10th before walking off with the victory in the 11th on an RBI single by junior Madeline Jelenicki, as UCLA took game one of the Los Angeles Super Regional with an 8-7 victory on Thursday at Easton Stadium.

Game two will be Friday at 8 p.m. and televised on ESPN.

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The Bruins (46-13) had 14 hits from six different players, as senior Delaney Spaulding and sophomore Brianna Tautalafua each had three hits, while senior Gabrielle Maurice, Jelenicki and freshmen Rachel Garcia and Bubba Nickles all posted a pair.

  1. Garcia (21-7) had a strong effort in the circle, striking out a career-best 12 and throwing 232 pitches in 11 innings. She allowed seven runs (six earned), 11 hits and five walks. Garcia had 1-2-3 innings in the second, third, fifth, seventh and 11th, while striking out a pair in the third, seventh, ninth and 10th.

UCLA jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a run in the second and three in the third. In the second, Garcia led off the frame with a homer to center, her seventh of the season. In the third, the Bruins opened the inning with a double to left by Spaulding, a hit by pitch of junior Kylee Perez and an infield single by Tautalafua to load the bases. A sacrifice fly out to center for Jelenicki brought in Spaulding to make it 2-0. One out later, Maurice singled up the middle to score Perez with the Bruins’ third run. With Tautalafua at third, Maurice stole second, and when the throw to second went into center field, Tautalafua scampered home to make it 4-0.

Ole Miss (43-19) rallied with five in the sixth on a two-run homer by Brittany Finney, a two-run single by Alyssa Gonzalez and another run on a wild pitch to go ahead 5-4.

Down to their last strike in the seventh, Spaulding, who led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a Tautalafua grounder, scored on a wild pitch to send the game to extra innings.

After a scoreless eighth and ninth, the Rebels re-took the lead in the 10th on a two-run single by Gonzalez. But again, down to their last strike, the Bruins rallied. With two outs, Garcia singled to left, and was pinch-run for by freshman Jenna Crawford, while Maurice singled up the middle with two strikes to bring up Nickles, who doubled off the wall in right to bring home both runners and even things at seven.

In the 11th, sophomore Zoe Shaw led off with a walk, moved to second on a Spaulding sacrifice and scored two batters later on Jelenicki’s single through the 3-4 hole to give the Bruins the victory.