Reigning WCWS champ UCLA ousted by Sooners

  • ACC reporter.
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2010.
  • Graduate of the University of Florida.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Defending national champion UCLA was eliminated from the Women’s College World Series late Saturday night, falling to Oklahoma 10-3.

It was a matchup many expected to see in the championship series: the top-seeded Sooners against the No. 2 seed Bruins. But after Oklahoma lost to upstart James Madison and UCLA lost to Alabama, the two teams met in the loser’s bracket in a win-or-go-home game.

After a nearly 2½-hour weather delay, UCLA got on the board first, chasing Oklahoma starter Nicole May in the third inning after Rachel Garcia hit a three-run home run for an early 3-0 lead.

But Garcia, the starting pitcher, a two-time player of the year and an Olympian, ran into trouble for the first time in the bottom of the inning, when the Sooners answered with two runs.

Fielding mistakes compounded themselves in the bottom of the fourth, when Oklahoma scored two unearned runs to take the lead, and never looked back. In the fifth, Mackenzie Donihoo hit a solo home run — the first of two home runs she hit in the game. Add in the home run she hit earlier in the day in a win over Georgia, and Donihoo hit a combined three home runs on Saturday.

Garcia lasted 5.1 innings, giving up eight runs, six earned, in her final career outing for UCLA. Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez gave her a hug as she left the field for the last time as a Bruin, fighting back tears.

She and teammate Bubba Nickles will now join the Olympic team headed to Tokyo. Nickles, who recently returned to the lineup after a wrist injury, struggled once again, going 0-for-3.

Giselle “G” Juarez came on in relief of May and put together an impressive effort, shutting down UCLA and holding the Bruins scoreless.

After scoring a season-low three runs in their opening loss to James Madison, the Sooners scored 18 total runs Saturday in wins over Georgia and UCLA. They advance to face James Madison in a rematch Sunday.

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