May 31, 2004
By JEFF LATZKE
Associated Press Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY - Claire Sua homered and Kristen Dedmon hit a tiebreaking two-run single to lead UCLA to its second straight NCAA softball championship and 10th overall with a 3-1 victory over California on Monday night.
The Bruins became the first team to win back-to-back championships since Arizona in 1996-97.
Keira Goerl, who pitched a nine-inning no-hitter as UCLA beat Cal 1-0 in last year's title game, beat the Golden Bears again but wasn't nearly as dominant.
Goerl (31-7) allowed seven hits in becoming only the third pitcher to win back-to-back championship games. Arizona's Susie Parra in 1993-1994 and UCLA's Debbie Doom in 1984-85 also accomplished the feat.
Making its third straight appearance in the title game, California was up 1-0 and pitcher Kelly Anderson (25-9) was perfect through four innings.
Leading off the fifth, Sua hit Anderson's first pitch over the left-center field wall to tie the game 1-1.
Anderson hit the next batter, Stephanie Ramos, in the back and walked Jodie Legaspi on six pitches before being replaced by Kristina Thorson. Amanda Simpson pinch-ran for Ramos, Tara Henry pinch-ran for Legaspi and Emily Zaplatosch bunted them both up a base.
After Michelle Turner struck out looking, Dedmon hit a 1-1 pitch from Thorson to center. Simpson scored easily and Henry had to reach around catcher Haley Woods to touch a corner of home plate.
Cal coach Diane Ninemire argued that Henry missed the plate and television replays were inconclusive.
Jessica Pamanian had an RBI single in the first inning as the Golden Bears made sure Goerl (31-7) didn't throw no-hitters in consecutive championship games.
Lindsay James walked with one out in the first and moved to second when Woods singled to left. After Goerl struck out Kaleo Eldredge, Pamanian hit a one-hopper that skipped off third base and popped down the left-field line.
James rounded third and scored just ahead of left fielder Julie Hoshizaki's throw.