LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Top-ranked UCLA hit four home runs in its first game on Saturday at the chilly Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, including two by junior Katie Schroeder in a 6-2 win against Utah. Freshman Jessica Hall then tosses a two-hitter in the nightcap in a 3-0 victory against Portland State.
In game one, junior Andrea Harrison and sophomore B.B. Bates also added to the home run parade for the Bruins (7-1). Eight of the nine UCLA starters had hits, 12 in all, with Bates, Hall, Schroeder and freshman Kellie Fox recording two-hit games.
The long ball got the Bruins off to a hot start in the bottom of the first inning, as they smashed a pair out of the park. Schroeder led off with her first homer of the season to center on a 1-2 pitch, and two outs later, Harrison launched a 1-0 pitch out to left-center for her fourth of the year to make it 2-0.
UCLA hit another one out on the first pitch of the third, as Bates connected on her second of the year to center to up the advantage to 3-0. The Bruins then loaded the bases on a single to left by senior GiOnna DiSalvatore, a walk to Harrison and a fielding error at second by Jackie Sweet which allowed Fox to reach. One out later, freshman Alyssa Tiumalu lifted a scoring fly ball to center to plate DiSalvatore and make it 4-0.
The Utes (4-5) got on the board in the top of the fourth. With one out, Tia Palauni walked and Whitney Holm singled to the 5-6 hole, with Palauni taking third on an errant throw to first by Fox. Hannah Clements then tapped a ball to third, which got Palauni in a rundown, but Fox’s relay hit her in the back, allowing the Utes to score their first run.
The Bruins got that run back and another in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Schroeder hit her second homer of the game the opposite way to left on an 0-1 count to give UCLA its four-run lead back. One out later, DiSalvatore walked, Harrison reached on a fielding error at second by Sweet and Fox singled to left to plate DiSalvatore to make it 6-1.
Utah trimmed its deficit back to four with a run in the top of the fifth. Taylor Austin reached on an error by freshman Talee Snow at third and Tara Glover and Brooke Olson had successive bunt singles to load the bases. The Bruins got the first out of the inning when Cheyella Myers tapped a ball to short, with Fox coming home to force Austin for the first out. But Palauni blooped a single to right to score Glover to make it 6-2.
Hall would earn the win in the circle in relief of senior Donna Kerr to improve to 3-1 on the season. She struck out two in 3 1/3 innings and gave up one run and six hits.
Kerr left the game in the fourth inning with a leg injury following a collision at the plate on a rundown. She tossed the first 3 2/3 innings and fanned two, allowing an unearned run, three hits and a walk.
In game two, Hall (4-1) only allowed a leadoff slap single in the first and a two-out double in the seventh, walking two and striking out one. She retired the side in order in the third, fourth and sixth.
After a scoreless first two innings, the Bruins (8-1) got on the board with an unearned run in the top of the third. Schroeder was hit by a pitch to start off the frame and moved to second on a single to left by Bates. Schroeder then alertly moved to third on a fly out to right by DiSalvatore. With Harrison at the plate, Bates took off for second and catcher Lacey Holm pump-faked a throw down, but it slipped out of her hand and went into center, allowing Schroeder to score to make it 1-0.
The Bruins added two more in the fifth thanks to another Portland State miscue. Bates and DiSalvatore started the inning with back-to-back singles. Harrison then tapped a ball to second, with DiSalvatore getting tagged for the first out, but Carly McEachran’s throw to Karmen Holladay at first bounced in and out of her glove to allow Harrison to reach. Fox followed with a double to right-center to plate Bates to make it 2-0. One out later, Tiumalu singled through the left side, scoring Harrison to up the advantage to 3-0.
The Vikings had a chance in the bottom of the inning, but a great defensive play by Tiumalu stopped the threat. Danielle Lynn walked to lead off, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundout. After Rebecca Bliss reached on a fielder’s choice to put runners at the corners, she took off for second, but Tiumalu alertly threw to third and picked off Lynn for the second out. Hall retired Alexa Morales on a groundout to short to end the inning.