April 7, 2002
TUCSON - Two long balls by UCLA's Stacey Nuveman helped the top-ranked Bruins beat Arizona, 6-5, and bring a halt to Arizona's school-record home-field winning streak and give All-American Jennie Finch her first pitching loss in nearly two years.
A record crowd of 3,161 saw UCLA (34-6) jump to a quick lead and fight back later with Nuveman's homers to stop Arizona's winning streak in Hillenbrand Stadium at 70 consecutive. The No. 2-ranked Wildcats dropped to 35-5 overall and 4-1 in Pac-10 action. UCLA improved to 2-3 in league play.
Finch (20-1) last took a loss on April 21, 2000, in a 3-1 decision at then
No. 4 Arizona State. She won her last eight games that year, was an
NCAA-record perfect 32-0 last year and opened the 2002 season with
victories in her first 20 decisions.
UCLA wasted little time putting some runs on the board in the first. Nastasha Watley walked and Amanda Freed singled off Arizona pitcher Jenny Gladding's glove, and both moved up on a sacrifice by Tairia Mims. Stacey Nuveman drew a walk to load the bases, then Stephanie Ramos hit a grand slam to left-center.
Arizona answered quickly. Singles by Lovie Jung and Courtney Fossatti and a fielder's choice by Leneah Manuma loaded the bases when Jung beat the tag on an attempted force out at third. An out later Gladding drew a walk to force in one run, then Mackenzie Vandergeest blooped an RBI single to right and Jackie Coburn laced an RBI single to right to make it 4-3.
Bruin pitcher Keira Goerl struck out Carrie Hagen but Crystal Farley chopped a single to left to drive in Gladding and tie the game.
Jennie Finch came in to relieve for UA in the top of the second and after walking a batter and giving up one hit, got three successive outs to end the threat.
Arizona opened a 5-4 lead in the fourth when Jung walked, reached second when Goerl threw the ball past the bag on an attempted force play, then scored on Manuma's single up the middle.
UCLA's Nuveman hit her 80th career home run -- five shy of the NCAA record shared by former Wildcats Laura Espinoza and Leah Braatz -- in the top of the fifth to knot the score, then gave UCLA a 6-5 lead in the seventh with her 81st, also a solo shot off the scoreboard.
Goerl (17-4) held Arizona hitless in the final two innings and struck out two in the bottom of the seventh.