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One Hit Enough to Beat UCLA, Fernandez : NCAA softball: Arizona beats Bruins, 1-0, in World Series championship game on first-inning single.


OKLAHOMA CITY — UCLA's Lisa Fernandez gave all she had against Arizona in the championship game of the NCAA Softball World Series on Monday, but it was not enough to earn the Bruins an eighth title.

Arizona managed only one hit against Fernandez, a run-scoring single that gave the Wildcats a 1-0 victory before 3,138 in the championship game at Hall of Fame Stadium.

It is the second title in three years for Arizona (44-8), which lost to UCLA, 2-0, in the final a year ago. UCLA finished with a 50-5 record.

Fernandez (33-3), who this year became the first to pitch two no-hitters in the World Series, gave up only 11 hits and one earned run in 46 1/3 innings and lost two of six games in the tournament.

She is the winningest pitcher in UCLA history, with a 93-7 record. The senior right-hander is a four-time All-American.

"It's disappointing because you always want to go out a champion, but in my opinion, I gave the university everything I had," said Fernandez, as she fought back tears. "I couldn't have asked much more from myself or my team because they gave me everything they had."

About 100 young fans surrounded Fernandez after the game, asking for autographs. Fernandez, who batted .382 in her career at UCLA, obliged all with a smile and encouraging words about what she considers "the future of softball."

"I think as long as you can say you gave it everything you had and you kept your head up, then you're OK," she said. "These are just things you can learn from."

UCLA might learn from its mistakes. The Bruins, who came into the tournament having committed 26 errors in 49 games, committed five in their last three games. One of the two against Arizona was costly.

Amy Chellevold reached on a throwing error by shortstop Kristy Howard to open the first inning. She advanced to second on a groundout and scored on a single to center field by Leah O'Brien.

The Wildcats turned to pitcher Susie Parra to do the rest. Parra (28-3), an All-American junior right-hander, responded.

Parra threw only 75 pitches, gave up only two hits and struck out six. She saved her best for last, striking out the side in the seventh inning to end it.

To get to the championship game, UCLA beat Southwestern Louisiana, 1-0, on Fernandez's one-hitter only 50 minutes before facing Arizona. Fernandez walked one and faced only one batter over the minimum.

The Ragin' Cajuns (57-7) gave Fernandez trouble only in the first inning. Vanessa Avant slapped a single into left field with one out. She advanced to second on a ground out and stole third on the fourth pitch to Kyla Hall. Fernandez struck out Hall on the next pitch to end the threat.

The Bruins' offense was just enough to beat Hall. Janae Deffenbaugh led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a home run to right.

It was one of only three hits off Hall (29-3).

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