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Texas Athletics | February 28, 2020

No. 3 Texas softball hands No. 1 UCLA its first loss of the season in top-3 matchup

UCLA softball: The best players in Bruins' history

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — On Thursday night in a high-profile match-up in front of 1,057 fans at Easton Stadium, No. 3 Texas softball (17-2) used three big home runs to knock No. 1 UCLA (15-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten, 6-4 (8 inn.).

Important Notes

  • Texas picked up its fifth all-time win over a No. 1 team and its first since posting a 4-2 victory over Oklahoma back on April 20, 2013.
  • With the win, Texas handed UCLA its first loss of 2020 and ended the Bruins' 23-game winning streak.
  • UT has posted two top-10 victories over approximately a 48-hour span after Tuesday night's win over No. 10/9 Louisiana and tonight's triumph over No. 1 UCLA.
  • Texas' six runs marked the most allowed by the UCLA pitching staff in a single-game this season. Florida and Cal State Bakersfield each scored four in losses.
  • Redshirt junior catcher Taylor Ellsworth's fourth-inning home run was her first since April 28, 2018, at Oklahoma. The Georgetown, Texas, native missed all but three games during the 2019 campaign because of injury.
  • The Longhorns have now out-hit all 19 opponents they have faced this season while averaging 10.3 hits-per-game.
  • Junior third baseman Mary Iakopo and junior right fielder Lauren Burke's back-to-back home runs in the eighth marked the second time that the Longhorns have turned the feat this year.

MORE UPSETS: Loyola Marymount knocks off No. 4 LSU | First-year program Clemson takes down No. 14 Georgia

Major players

Iakopo (2-for-4, run, HR, RBI); Burke (1-for-4, run, HR, RBI); Ellsworth (1-for-4, run, HR, two RBIs); redshirt senior left fielder Reagan Hathaway (2-for-4, RBI); junior second baseman Janae Jefferson (1-for-3, RBI); senior pitcher Miranda Elish (2-for-4, two runs, double)

In the circle:

Elish (8-2) earned a big win in a complete-game effort, allowing three earned runs on four hits with six walks and seven strikeouts over eight innings.

The details

UCLA put something together immediately in the bottom of the first with the benefit of some Texas help. Leadoff batter Kinsley Washington beat out an infield single after a late cover of first base by the UT defense. A fielding miscue on right fielder Aaliyah Jordan's bouncer allowed the two runners to advance into scoring position with just one down. Center fielder Maya Brady then lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate UCLA for a quick, 1-0 lead.

The Longhorns strung together an immediate response in the top of the second, putting up two runs on three hits with the benefit of a UCLA miscue at short. Elish kicked it all off with one out by driving a double to the wall in left-center. Hathaway stepped to the dish and ripped an RBI single up the middle to tie things up at 1-1. A key Bruin error at short and a Courtney Day bloop hit to right loaded the bases for the Horns. Facing a big early opportunity, Jefferson launched a liner to left that was caught by Kelli Godin for a sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, just after UT's second run scored, UCLA managed to double off a runner at second for an inning-ending double play.

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A pair of walks came back to hurt Elish in the bottom of the third as UCLA first baseman Delanie Wisz hit a hard chopper up the middle with two on and two outs. Senior Kaitlyn Slack ranged over from short and made a terrific diving stop, but she couldn't get an out at second as the Bruins scored to tie things at 2-2.

Once again, Texas responded back immediately as Ellsworth followed Elish's leadoff single by blasting a one-out, two-run HR down the left-field line in the fourth to boost the Horns back in front, 4-2.

UCLA used its own long ball to dead-lock the contest back up in the bottom of the fifth as Jordan cashed in a leadoff Bruin walk with a one-out, two-run blast to right to make it 4-4.

The Bruins threatened again in their half of the sixth, putting two aboard with two outs on a walk and a UT error. Facing a big spot, UCLA's Washington stepped up and hit a dying liner to shallow left field. Hathaway got a good jump on the ball and managed an on-the-run basket grab to end the threat with no damage.

The two teams were eventually forced to head to extra innings to settle their top-five match-up. It was Texas that struck the big blows in the top of the eighth as Iakopo and Burke blasted back-to-back HR's to left-center and right, respectively, for a 6-4 advantage.

The defending national champs refused to go down quietly in the bottom of the eighth, however, as the Bruins got two aboard on a catcher's interference call and a two-out walk. Elish refused to yield as the senior right-hander induced a fly out to left to end the high-profile victory.

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Division I
Softball Championship
June 1-9, 2023
USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium | Oklahoma City, OK

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