Michigan 5, UCLA 2

June 7, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Becky Marx hit a two-run home run and Jessica Merchant added a two-run double as Michigan rallied to beat UCLA 5-2 Tuesday night and force a decisive third game in the Women's College World Series championship.

Marx, who'd had only one hit in 10 previous World Series at-bats, lined a pitch from UCLA starter Anjelica Selden that just cleared the glove of a leaping Ashley Herrera as it sailed over the left-field wall. Herrera robbed Alessandra Giampaolo of a home run a night earlier.

Marx pumped her right fist in the air as she ran between second and third, and again as she headed home to a mob of teammates jumping up and down at the plate to tie the game at 2 in the top of the fifth.

Rebekah Milian followed with a single to center and Tiffany Haas reached when Selden threw wildly to first on Haas' bunt attempt. Giampaolo successfully advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt to bring Merchant to the plate with two outs.

The senior shortstop, who leads the top-seeded Wolverines (64-7) with 21 home runs, lined Selden's 1-1 pitch over UCLA shortstop Jodie Legaspi into the gap, and Milian and Haas raced home.

Samantha Findlay added an RBI double over right-fielder Krista Colburn in the seventh for the Wolverines.

Michigan had been a team of sluggers all season long, but had struggled against Selden (29-13). The UCLA freshman didn't allow a Michigan runner to reach second base in Game 1, and the Wolverines had seven strikeouts and only one hit _ on an infield chopper by Giampaolo _ through four innings in Game 2.

It was an uncharacteristic power shortage for Michigan, which became only the fifth team in NCAA history to hit more than 100 home runs in a season. The Wolverines' bats finally came to life after UCLA (40-19) pulled ahead and seemed to be on its way to a third straight national title.

Taking advantage of an error, the seventh-seeded Bruins took a 1-0 lead on Andrea Duran's triple in the third inning. Lisa Dodd reached on a one-out error by Haas, moved to second on Herrera's sacrifice and scored easily on Duran's liner to the right-center field gap.

Caitlin Benyi made it 2-0 an inning later with a long drive that flew over a tent and a trailer beyond the wall in left field.

Jennie Ritter (37-4) got nine straight outs to finish a four-hitter for Michigan. She struck out six and walked none. Selden gave up eight hits and walked two while striking out 13.

Game 3 is Wednesday night.

-- Courtesy Associated Press