Bears Lose Battle with Bruins in Nine-Inning Thriller
LOS ANGELES - No. 9/8 California (31-7, 6-4 Pac-12) battled it out with Ursine cousin No. 19/21 UCLA (27-13, 4-9 Pac-12) for nine innings, but a four-inning dry spell at the plate proved to be too much to overcome as the Golden Bears fell to the Bruins 6-5 Thursday under the lights of Easton Stadium.
Cal spread just seven hits between the nine innings while UCLA racked up 12 off of senior pitcher Jolene Henderson(26-6). Henderson offered up three earned runs and four walks while sending eight Bruin batters back to the dugout. Paige McDuffee pitched 5.1 innings, giving up all five of the Bears' scored runs with two walks and two strikeouts. Ally Carda relieved her at the top of the sixth, rendering Cal hitless through the final 3.2 innings with two walks and seven Ks.
Things looked promising in the initial inning when Cal cycled through its entire batting order, scoring four runs and four hits. Junior Britt Vonk scored the team's first run after reaching first on a fielder's choice that took sophomore Cheyenne Cordes off the base paths, working the bases until a fielder's choice from sophomore Danielle Henderson brought her across for an unearned run. In what was one of the night's bright spots, sophomore Breana Kostreba continued to work her way out of a hitting slump with a second two-RBI single in as many games. A single by freshman Khala Taylor sent junior Victoria Jonesto the dish for run No. 4.
UCLA cut the lead at the bottom of third when left fielder Devon Lindvall heated things up with a double, advanced to third, then scored on a throwing error.
The Golden Bear downfall continued at the bottom of the fourth, starting with back-to-back errors in the first play of the inning that brought Bruin shortstop Stephany LaRosa around the diamond. The play ignited the Bruins, and a single up the middle by Carda immediately followed by a homer by designated player Jessica Hall tied the game up at 4-4.
Cal made an attempt at a comeback at the top of the fifth when a walk plated Jones, who scored via a double to right center by Kostreba - her third RBI of the evening.
In what could have been the final inning for the Bears, LaRosa again came up big with an RBI single to score Lindvall and send the game into extra innings.
Without allowing Cal any hits after the sixth inning, the Bruins easily garnered the win with three hits in the extra two innings. It started with a leadoff walk for Allexis Bennett who traversed the diamond and finally scored on a fielder's choice by Carda that resulted in an error at home plate to end the three-hour, 19-minute showdown.
The Bears return to Easton Stadium Friday for game two of the series at 7 p.m.
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