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NCAA SOFTBALL

Selden Leaves Bruins Poised

June 07, 2005|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

UCLA freshman pitcher Anjelica Selden is turning this year's Women's College World Series into her personal highlight show.

Selden threw a four-hit shutout to win her fourth consecutive complete game in leading the Bruins to a 5-0 victory over Michigan in the opener of the best-of-three championship round Monday night at Oklahoma City.

"I'm not really tired; not at all," Selden said after striking out 11 Wolverine batters to help move UCLA (40-18) within a victory of winning its third consecutive national championship.

"When I'm not pitching, I just try to keep myself calm and relaxed. I don't dwell on anything but positive thoughts. That helps me keep my poise on the mound."

For five innings Monday, Selden did not get any help from Bruin hitters against Michigan's Jennie Ritter, who led the top-seeded Wolverines (63-7) into the finals with a complete-game victory over Tennessee earlier in the day.

But Ritter had her problems in the sixth when UCLA catcher Emily Zaplatosch hit a bases-loaded double to score two runs to highlight a five-run inning. The Bruins took advantage of two hit batters by Ritter and a fielding error by Michigan third baseman Grace Leutele to break the game open.

"I'm really proud of how this team had great poise out there," said UCLA Coach Sue Enquist about the Bruins, who finished fifth in the eight-team Pacific 10 Conference and had to win five elimination games during the playoffs. "There are times when getting to this day somehow it takes on greater meaning."

The turning point for the Bruins on Monday came when Andrea Duran was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth. Umpire Willie Newman first ruled that Ritter hit Duran's bat with the ball but after Enquist protested, Newman consulted with the other umpires and Duran was given first base.

Tara Henry then reached base on Leutele's error, but before she did, Michigan Coach Carol Hutchins argued that Henry bunted a two-strike pitch foul and should have been ruled out. Ritter then hit Caitlin Benyi with a pitch that led to Zaplatosch's two-strike double.

Lorilyn Wilson then replaced Ritter and gave up another run to the Bruins with a wild pitch to score Benyi. Jodie Legaspi reached on a walk and Alissa Eno, who pinch-ran for Zaplatosch, scored on a ball hit by Kristen Dedmon that Michigan catcher Becky Marx mishandled.

Lisa Dodd knocked in UCLA's final run when she singled to score Legaspi.

"I'm really excited about [tonight's Game 2]," said Selden, who did not walk a batter or let a runner reach second base in improving to 29-12. "We're really a confident and seasoned team now because we've been through so much this season just to get to this point."

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White reported from Los Angeles.

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