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UCLA's Softball Team Powers Into World Series

May 19, 2003|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

Stephanie Ramos provided the power at the plate and Keira Goerl provided it in the circle to lift UCLA into the Women's College World Series.

Ramos hit a three-run homer in the first inning to support Goerl's six-inning shutout effort in the Bruins' 5-0 victory over Michigan State to win an NCAA softball regional championship at Fresno.

Goerl, named the regional's most outstanding player, limited the Spartans to one hit and struck out six. Over four tournament games, the junior pitcher gave up no earned runs and eight hits.

"I am pleased with our effort and how we came out," UCLA Coach Sue Enquist said. "We set the tone early on. We had great defense and we advanced players when we had to."

Shortstop Natasha Watley led off the first with a double and stole third. Michigan State pitcher Jessica Beech retired the next two hitters but walked Claire Sua.

Ramos made Beech pay by belting a home run over the center-field fence.

"We play to win it all," Watley said. "The extra drive is because it is my last year."

Monique Mejia added a run-scoring single and Andrea Duran hit a sacrifice fly to account for the rest of the Bruin scoring.

Michigan State finished its season with a 40-19 record.

UCLA (49-6) will open World Series play Thursday in Oklahoma City against defending champion California (45-18).

Other regional winners were Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and Alabama.


Tobias Clemens rallied from a set down to win his match and clinch a 4-1 victory for UCLA over Florida in the NCAA men's tennis quarterfinals at Athens, Ga.

As rain forced play indoors at the Magill Tennis Complex, Clemens finished off Florida's Janne Holmia, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, to push his match winning streak to 13.

His victory followed singles wins by Chris Lam and Erfan Djahangiri and staved off a rally by the Gators, who had pushed Bruin players Marcin Matkowski and Lassi Ketola to a third set.

"We wasted a lot of opportunities today," Clemens said. "Janne could have put me away several times in the match, but I fought back and was able to come away with the victory."

In avenging a loss to the Gators in February, UCLA (24-3) advanced to a semifinal match against Vanderbilt. Stanford and Illinois play in the other semifinal.

"We face a great team in Vanderbilt," UCLA Coach Billy Martin said. "They beat Florida earlier this season and won the SEC tournament."


In baseball, USC took two of three Pacific 10 Conference home games against Washington State. Brian Bannister threw a four-hitter and had a career-high eight strikeouts Sunday in a 9-1 victory.

On Saturday, Michael Moon became the first Trojan in 25 years to hit for the cycle in a 6-1 win.

Moon tripled in the first inning, homered in the second, singled in the fifth and doubled in the seventh to support Anthony Reyes' season-high 8 2/3-inning effort on the mound.

Trojan catcher Jeff Clement hit three homers and drove in seven runs Friday, but the Trojans dropped a wild 13-12 decision. With one weekend remaining in the regular season, USC is 28-24 overall and 11-10 in conference play and has kept its postseason hopes alive.

UC Riverside (40-15, 14-7) will await an expected NCAA regional bid after sweeping a three-game series with UC Irvine. The Highlander starting pitchers -- Jaymie Torres, A.J. Shappi and Julio Fernandez -- recorded victories as they held the Anteaters (20-35, 8-13) to six runs all weekend.

Pepperdine (35-21, 13-7) lost two of three at Gonzaga, but the Waves had already clinched the Coast Division title and will play San Diego in the best-of-three West Coast Conference championship series beginning Friday in Malibu.

Loyola Marymount (26-30, 13-17) finished its season by winning three straight from Portland.


Chapman defeated George Fox (Ore.) twice Saturday to come out of the loser's bracket and advance to the Division III College World Series.

Ryan France threw a four-hitter to lead the Panthers to a 4-0 victory that forced a winner-take-all championship game in the West Regional.

Scott Akamine followed that with a 137-pitch complete game and Shaun Donahoe drove in five runs in a 7-5 victory.

Chapman (34-11) will begin World Series play Friday in Appleton, Wis.

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