LOS ANGELES -- Freshman Delaney Spaulding hit UCLA’s eighth grand slam of the season in the bottom of the sixth, as the third-seeded Bruins recorded their 20th comeback victory of the year in a 6-4 triumph against 14th-seeded Kentucky in Game 1 of the Los Angeles Super Regional on Saturday at Easton Stadium.
The Bruins improved to 52-6 overall and are one win away from advancing to the Women’s College World Series. Kentucky fell to 47-17 on the year.
2014 USA Softball Player of the Year finalist Ally Carda struck out eight in a complete game to move to 32-4 on the year. She retired the side in order in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, striking out a pair in each of the last three frames. The junior Carda allowed four runs, five hits and one walk. At the plate, the Bruins had four hits.
The Bruins scored a pair in the second without the aid of a hit. Senior Jessica Hall walked to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice by senior Alyssa Tiumalu. Junior Gracie Goulder was hit by a pitch, and one out later, Carda walked to load the bases. Spaulding then lifted a line drive to right, but it was dropped by Emily Gaines, allowing Hall and Goulder to score the game’s first two runs.
In the top of the third, one swing of the bat put the visitors up. With one out, Ginny Carroll walked, Christian Stokes singled to the 5-6 hole and Sylver Samuel bunted to the right side for a hit to load the bases. One out later, Griffin Joiner hit a grand slam just inside the pole down the left-field line to make it 4-2.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the sixth. Hall led off the inning with a double to center, which was followed by a high fly ball to center by Tiumalu that was dropped by Samuel, allowing Hall to get to third and Tiumalu to second. Two outs later, Carda was walked intentionally to load the bases for Spaulding, who belted her eighth homer of the season to left to give the Bruins a 6-4 lead. UCLA would finish off the victory in the seventh to record its seventh last at-bat win of the year.