May 24, 2009

Courtesy of Missouri Athletics

Los Angeles, Calif. - Second-seeded UCLA (45-10) evened the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional series with 11th-ranked Missouri (49-10), winning game two, 5-2, at Easton Stadium. Missouri freshman Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) threw five innings and was saddled with the loss, her fifth of the season and first since the Tiger's April 26, loss to then-No. 13 Oklahoma. The two squads will play the third and final game of the series at approximately 5:40 p.m. (CT), with the winner advancing to the Women's College World Series, May 28-June 3, in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Thomas allowed an uncharacteristic four runs on four hits, including a fifth inning two run home run before being relieved by freshman righty Kristin Nottelmann (Fenton, Mo.) at the start of the sixth. Nottelmann, whose last outing came against Bradley, May 16, at the NCAA Regional in Columbia, Mo., allowed just one UCLA hit in two innings of work.

The Tigers showed signs of life in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs on three hits. Entering the game in the top of the seventh, senior catcher Katie Milles (St. Louis, Mo.) provided Missouri with its only two runs of the game, crushing the first home run of her career off of UCLA relief pitcher Donna Kerr. Earlier in the inning, freshman first baseman Ashley Fleming (Silex, Mo.) reached base on balls with one out on the board, scoring on Milles' hard hit to right field.

Missouri managed more hits, seven, than UCLA, five, but made three fielding errors, snapping an eight game win streak that began May 3, against Nebraska. Stranding seven runners on base, five in scoring position, the Tigers were unable to capitalize on any scoring opportunities, leaving the bases loaded on the fourth inning.

The Missouri/UCLA series is just the second of the eight super regional sites to force a third game. Playing in Palo Alto, Calif., Stanford opened the series with a win, but Arizona came back earning back-to-back wins to advance to the World Series.

UCLA put up one run in the second, three in the fifth and one in the seventh en route to their first win of the Super Regional.

Missouri will play as the home team in game three after winning the coin toss Friday evening. The winner of the Missouri/UCLA series will face Arizona State.