UCLA battles back from 4-0 hole, from final strike to beat Cal in nine frames
LOS ANGELES -- No. 19 UCLA came back from 4-0 and 5-4 deficits as sophomore Stephany LaRosa tied the game in the seventh and No. 9 California's fourth error won it for the Bruins 6-5 in the ninth.
The Bruins had 12 hits, with half of those coming from the eight and nine slots of the lineup. Senior Devon Lindvall and freshman Allexis Bennett each recorded three hits, while six others also contributed a base knock.
Sophomore Ally Carda (18-6) picked up the victory in relief, tossing 3.2 innings of hitless relief, striking out seven and giving up just two walks. She struck out a pair in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames. Freshman Paige McDuffee started and struck out two in 5.1 innings, allowing only one earned run (five total), seven hits and two walks.
The Golden Bears (31-7, 6-4) scored four unearned runs in the top of the first. With runners at third and first and two outs, Danielle Henderson tapped a ball to LaRosa at short, but it was bobbled, allowing Britt Vonk to score the game's first run. A walk to Victoria Jones loaded the bases for Breana Kostreba, who singled up the middle to score Lindsey Ziegenhirt and Henderson to make it 3-0. After a single to center by Vanessa Alvarez re-loaded the bases, Khala Taylor reached on an infield single to the left of the circle to score Jones with Cal's fourth run.
The Bruins (27-13, 4-9) clawed back with a run in the third. Lindvall led off with a double to left and Bennett laid down a perfect bunt single to the left side, and when Henderson's throw from third was low to first, Lindvall scored to make it 4-1.
In a wild fourth inning, UCLA tied the game. LaRosa opened the frame by skying a high fly ball to right, but Alvarez dropped it, allowing LaRose to take second. Alvarez's throw into second skipped away and into left-field foul ground, with LaRosa coming all the way around to score UCLA's second run. Carda followed with a single up the middle and came home on a homer to right by junior Jessica Hall, her sixth of the season, to even the score at four.
Cal re-took the lead in the next half inning with another two-out rally. Jones walked and Kostreba doubled to right-center to make it 5-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, Lindvall led off with a single off of first baseman Jones, but remained there two outs later, until a walk to senior B.B. Bates put her in scoring position. Then battling back from an 0-2 deficit in the count, LaRosa won a seven-pitch at-bat against Cal's Jolene Henderson, singling up the middle to bring in Lindvall and even the game at five.
After having a runner thrown out at home in the eighth, the Bruins won the three-hour, 19-minute marathon in the ninth. Bennett led off with a single to left and moved to second on a passed ball. Sophomore Gracie Goulder followed with a walk, but was forced at second on a grounder to the right side off the bat of Bates. The Golden Bears then walked LaRosa intentionally to get to Carda, who tapped a grounder to short. But Cheyenne Cordes threw low to the plate, as Bennett slid in with the game-winning run.