Friday, March 22

UCLA softball clinches early win over Louisiana-Lafayette to open super regionals

GiOnna DiSalvatore led off the fifth inning by hitting a solo home run over the center field wall, putting the Bruins up 10-2 and ending the game by mercy against Louisiana-Lafayette.

“My team did a great job of putting pressure on the defense every single inning,” the junior second baseman said. “They gave me the opportunity … in the last inning.”

And DiSalvatore took the opportunity, leading the No. 5 Bruins as they defeated the Ragin’ Cajuns to go up 1-0 in the Los Angeles Super Regional at Easton Stadium.

Four different batters sent a total of eight different Bruins across home plate in the first game of the best-of-three series.

“It’s a mentality,” coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “Their ability to execute the plan together as a group is something that this team has done a really good job of in 2010.”

The Bruins were first to get on the board when sophomore left fielder Andrea Harrison hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. The Ragin’ Cajuns answered back in the second, scoring two runs on a single by senior center fielder Vallie Gaspard and taking the lead 2-1. That was the last time the Ragin’ Cajuns would hold the lead, as the Bruins mounted a rally and scored seven runs in the bottom of the second.

Sophomore right fielder Samantha Camuso set the tempo for the inning when she led off with a deep solo home run to right field. DiSalvatore contributed to the inning with a two-RBI double before the lineup came back around and Camuso hit a two-RBI double herself. The Bruins had 12 plate appearances in the second inning.

Sophomore designated player Dani Yudin got in on the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning before DiSalvatore hit the game ending home run in the fifth.

The game was the Bruin’s 19th run-rule victory, tying the UCLA single-season record held by the 2001 team.

In the circle, sophomore pitcher Aleah Macon (11-1) gave up no earned runs and pitched all five innings, picking up the victory for the Bruins. Junior pitcher Donna Bourgeois (23-10) had eight earned runs in four innings of work and picked up the loss for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are now in a must-win situation, as the Bruins can wrap up the series with a victory in game two Sunday at 4 p.m. Should Louisiana-Lafayette win game two, it will play a deciding game three at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

“A team working together can do some real powerful damage,” Inouye-Perez said. “I can’t wait to get back out there.”

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