June 7, 2010
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Megan Langenfeld hit her first career walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth, and UCLA staged an improbable 6-5 comeback win in Game 1 of the Women's College World Series championship series.
In a game that featured five lead changes and four ties, the turning point came with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and Arizona holding onto a 5-4 lead that they had garnered in the top half.
UCLA's Dani Yudin popped up to left center, but Lauren Schutzler and Brittany Lastrapes had some miscommunication and the ball fell to the ground. Julie Burney was intentionally walked, and Kaila Shull doubled off the glove of Karissa Buchanan in right field to plate pinch runner Marti Reed and tie the game and eventually send it to extras.
With two outs in the eighth, Langenfeld took the second pitch from Kenzie Fowler (39-7) over the centerfield wall to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Arizona (52-13) struck first off the bat of Brigette Del Ponte. The freshman floated the second pitch she saw from Langenfeld into shallow left field, plating K'Lee Arredondo. Brittany Lastrapes had led off the game with a single, but was gunned down trying to move to second. Arredondo and Stacie Chambers drew walks after Lauren Schutzler struck out. Lini Koria popped out to end the half.
Langenfeld helped her own cause and hit a solo home run with two outs in the first to even the score.
UCLA (49-11) put another on the board in the third when GiOnna DiSalvatore led off with a double off the glove of Lastrapes in left. Then Langenfeld tallied her second RBI of the game on a one-out bloop to right, scoring DiSalvatore from second.
But Arizona staged another two-out rally to tie the game in the fifth. Schutzler drew a walk, Arredondo singled, then Chambers singled through the right side to plate Schutzler and knot the score.
Fowler ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom half as Langenfeld nabbed her third hit of the game on a one-out single up the middle. Andrea Harrison hit a sharp liner off the left field wall for a double to move Langenfeld to third, but Fowler recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
Koria led off the sixth with a single to centerfield and moved to second on a sac bunt by Kristen Arriola. After a strikeout, Buchanan blooped a single into shallow left, but Lastrapes went down swinging.
Monica Harrison doubled on the chalk in left field to score B.B. Bates and Kaila Shull and give the Bruins a 4-2 lead after six.
Schutzler walked to lead off the seventh, then Arredondo slammed her second homer of the WCWS to tie the game. The next batter, Chambers, sent the full count pitch to deep centerfield to give Arizona its first lead since the first inning. It chased starter Langenfeld in favor of Aleah Macon (12-1) who picked up the win.
Fowler threw 7.2 innings and struck out 12, while Langenfeld pitched six frames and allowed nine hits. Macon scattered two hits in the same number of innings.
The teams will meet again tomorrow at 7 p.m. CT (5 p.m. Tucson time), with Arizona needing to win to keep their hopes for a ninth national championship alive.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Mike Candrea
"It was what we expected; it was a prize fight. I think both teams battled very, very hard. It was a tough game to lose, obviously. This team has been very resilient all week and I don't expect anything different from them. We just have to take it one game at a time. It was a pretty typical Arizona vs. UCLA game."
On what he said to his team after UCLA tied it in the seventh inning:
"I told them to pick your heads up and we need to move forward. I think as a team, when you lose a tough game like that, it takes a little time to absorb a little bit. But the big thing I wanted this group to know is that we have got to get ourselves turned around in 24 hours and that was water under the bridge. The big thing is to stay together and do what we've been doing all year. And I think that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
On the decision to pitch to Megan Langenfeld before her walk-off homer:
"She's been on fire and it was a situation where we kind of talked about not letting her beat us. And tonight she hits two home runs and we couldn't get her out. I think she's on fire right now and swinging the bat very well. I don't think she's going to have an opportunity to swing it much tomorrow. It's hindsight."
On why he chose to pitch to Langenfeld if he felt she was on fire:
"I have a lot of confidence in what Coach (Teresa) Wilson does. We talked before the game and I'm sure we'll talk tonight, but I'm not going to second guess someone that has done a hell of a job for me all year. That's the role she's in. I give her the opportunity to call the game, she calls the game. We talked about two or three people in the lineup. But that's how it goes."
More thoughts on the game:
"This was a great game. It was an outstanding game. I think it was well played for the most part. Unfortunately, the one part that wasn't ended up costing us. Sometimes things like that happen and you don't get bit by it. Tonight we got bit by it. We'll rebound and get ready for tomorrow."
ARIZONA SENIOR SHORTSTOP K'Lee Arredondo
On Arizona's back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning:
"I think the (umpire's) call before the inning that put UCLA up 4-2 gave me a little fire to come in there and want to do something big for this team, because I personally thought it was foul. I don't really know what it was. I told myself if Lauren (Schutzler) gets on I'm going to score, and I just stuck with that."
ARIZONA JUNIOR CATCHER Stacie Chambers
On the back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning:
"I think both of us were just trying to be relaxed. Putting pressure on yourself in that situation is not a good thing to do. I think we were both just looking for good pitches and she served them up there to us and we just took advantage of it."
ARIZONA FRESHMAN PITCHER Kenzie Fowler
On the highs and lows of the game:
"Emotionally it's going to be that way. It's the championship,p College World Series. So you've got to be ready for anything. It's what you expect out of a game. They just got their chance at the end and Megan (Langenfeld) hit the ball well. But I didn't pitch very well and that's just kind of the way it went. I thought I battled. They definitely scored the ball well, but so did we and I think it's going to be the same thing for us tomorrow."