OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Senior Megan Langenfeld went 4-for-5 with three RBI and a pair of home runs, including a walk-off bomb in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the fifth-seeded Bruins defeated #10 Arizona 6-5 on Monday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
UCLA improves to 49-11 and is one win away from its 12th national championship and 11th NCAA title. Game 2 is on Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT/7 p.m. CT on ESPN2 HD and ESPN3.com, with Gametracker available on UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins rallied twice, coming back from a run down in the bottom of the seventh after surrendering a 4-2 lead in the top half of the inning. UCLA had 12 hits as a team, with sophomore Andrea Harrison posting a two-hit game.
Sophomore Aleah Macon (12-1) picked up the win in relief, striking out three in two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk. Langenfeld started and pitched six-plus innings, striking out five and giving up five runs, nine hits and five walks.
For the first time in the WCWS, the Bruins saw their opponent score first. With two outs in the top of the first, K’Lee Arredondo and Stacie Chambers drew back-to-back walks and Brigette Del Ponte blooped a single to left to score Arredondo to put the Wildcats up 1-0.
The Bruins had their own two-out rally in the bottom of the first, as Langenfeld sent a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right for her team-leading 18th home run of the season to even the game.
The Wildcats had a chance in the third, but a nice defensive play in center by freshman Devon Lindvall kept the game tied at one. With runners at second and first and two outs, Del Ponte sent another blooper to the outfield in left-center, but Lindvall came in and made a diving catch to end the inning.
UCLA took the lead with a run in the bottom of the third. Junior GiOnna DiSalvatore led off by sending one deep to left that tipped off the outstretched glove of Brittany Lastrapes for a double. After DiSalvatore advanced to third on a wild pitch, she came home one out later when Langenfeld blooped a single to right in front of the sliding attempt by Karissa Buchanan to make it 2-1 Bruins.
The Wildcats tied the game in the top of the fifth on another two-out rally. Lauren Schutzler walked, Arredondo singled up the middle and Chambers singled to right to plate Schutzler to make it 2-all.
The Bruins squandered a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the fifth. Langenfeld singled up the middle with one out and moved to third on a double to left by Andrea Harrison. But Arizona’s Kenzie Fowler struck out sophomores Samantha Camuso and Dani Yudin to end the threat.
In the sixth, Langenfeld stranded a pair of Wildcats on base. Lini Koria singled to center to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice by Kristen Arriola. One out later, Buchanan singled to center to put runners at the corners, but Langenfeld struck out Lastrapes to keep the game tied.
The Bruins took the lead again with yet another two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth. With one out and senior Kaila Shull at first, freshman B.B. Bates singled to left to put a pair on base. After both runners moved up on a DiSalvatore groundout, junior Monica Harrison stroked a double that hit the left-field foul line to score Shull and Bates to give UCLA a 4-2 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Schutzler led off with a walk and Arredondo tied it with a homer to left to even the score at four. Chambers followed with a go-ahead homer to center to put the Wildcats on top 5-4.
To keep the theme of the game going, the Bruins once again rallied with two outs in the bottom of the seventh thanks to some breaks given by the Wildcats. After Fowler retired the first two of the inning, miscommunication by the Arizona left and center fielders kept things going. Yudin skied a ball to left-center, but it fell between a colliding Lastrapes and Schutzler to put the Bruin sophomore on second with a double. After the Wildcats walked senior Julie Burney intentionally, Shull lifted a ball to right that tipped off the outstretched glove of Buchanan for a double, as sophomore pinch-runner Marti Reed scored to tie the game at five. Fowler then fanned Bates to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, the Wildcats had the bases loaded, but Macon struck out Chambers looking to keep the game at 5-all.
That setup the heroics for Langenfeld, who hit a 1-0 pitch over the center-field fence with two outs in the bottom of the eighth for her 19th homer of the season and second of the game to put the Bruins one win away from a national championship.