OKLAHOMA CITY — UCLA softball Coach Sue Enquist says the first game of the Women's College World Series is the toughest because it is often unpredictable.
She couldn't have done a better job predicting that.
The Bruins cashed in on two Alabama errors and got a key insurance home run by second baseman Lyndsey Klein to rally for a 4-1 victory Thursday at Don Porter Hall of Fame Stadium.
UCLA (44-11-1) won its eighth consecutive game and will face top-seeded Washington in a winners' bracket game today at 4 p.m. PDT. Alabama (65-13) will play DePaul in an elimination game Saturday.
The eight-time champion Bruins do feel fortunate. They made three errors--one more than in their last four games combined--and they trailed, 1-0, in the fifth inning.
"We cannot play the defense that we played today and win," Enquist said. "We cracked the door for Alabama."
Klein atoned for her miscue when she drilled a two-run homer over the left-field fence. It was her 10th home run this season and second in two games.
Senior pitcher Courtney Blades threw a perfect game and fanned 11 to lead Southern Mississippi (62-11) to a 1-0 victory over Arizona (57-8).
Christy Ring's two-out single in the seventh inning off center fielder Amber Phillips' glove gave Oklahoma (63-8) a 2-1 victory over California (49-24).