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No. 2 UCLA Escapes with 4-3 Walk-Off win Over Liberty

March 9, 2019  Los Angeles, Calif.  RSS
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Madison Via went 1-for-3 and had two stolen bases at UCLA on Saturday.

Madison Via went 1-for-3 and had two stolen bases at UCLA on Saturday.

Liberty went toe-to-toe with the No. 2 UCLA Bruins, carrying a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth. However, the Bruins tied it in the fifth inning before winning 4-3 on a walk-off double from Rachel Garcia in the bottom of the seventh, Saturday at Easton Stadium.

UCLA improves to 20-1 on the season with the win, while the Lady Flames fall to 15-8, including 2-2 at the Louisville Slugger Invitational.

Scoring Summary
UCLA – 1st INNING – Jordan doubles down the right field line, Nickles scores, 1-0

LIBERTY – 3rd INNING – Amber Bishop doubles to center, Canetto scores, 1-1

LIBERTY – 3rd INNING – Robertson reaches on an error, sac bunt, Amber Bishop scores, 2-1

LIBERTY – 4th INNING – Canetto singles to left center, Via scores, 3-1

UCLA – 4th INNING – Pack singles to center, Garcia scores, 3-2

UCLA – 5th INNING – Nickles homers to center, 3-3

UCLA – 7th INNING – Garcia doubles to right center, Jordan scores, 4-3

Notable Numbers
- UCLA outhit Liberty 11-7. The Lady Flames registered two errors compared to one for the Bruins. Both teams stranded eight.

- Rachel Garcia (9-0), the 2018 USA Softball National Player of the Year, earned the win, allowing one run on three hits and striking out 11 in 4 2/3 inning of work in relief of starter Holly Azevedo. Garcia batted 2-for-3 with two doubles, one RBI and one run scored.

- Braelyn Cooper (1-2) drew the loss, giving up one run on two hits and striking out two in 2 1/3 innings. Liberty starter Chase Cassady pitched 3 2/3 innings, yielding two runs on six hits and fanning five. Julia DiMartino gave up one run in relief.

- UCLA's Aaliyah Jordan went 3-for-4 with three doubles, while Bubba Nickles went 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored.

- Autumn Bishop and Kara Canetto both registered two hits, one RBI and one run scored for Liberty.

Turning Point
- Trailing Liberty 3-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, UCLA quickly tied it at 3-3 when Nickles led off with a homer. The next two Bruins reached base, and Cooper entered the game in relief of DiMartino. A pair of runners were cut down in rundowns between third and home, and then Cooper fanned Paige Halstead to escape the jam unscathed.

- Liberty got two runners on with one out in the top of the seventh. However, Garcia fanned Alexis Erich and pinch hitter Emily Sweat to keep the game tied.

- With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Jordan and Garcia hit back-to-back doubles, with Garcia providing the walk-off winner.

Beyond the Box Score
- Liberty Head Coach Dot Richardson coached at UCLA's Easton Stadium for the first time today. Richardson was named the NCAA Softball Player of the 1980's for her stellar career as the Bruins' shortstop. Richardson's No. 1 jersey was retired by UCLA softball in 1999.

- DiMartino had not allowed a single run in her last 37 1/3 innings pitched before giving up Nickles' homer in the fifth.

- UCLA is 4-0 all-time against Liberty in softball, winning once each of the last three years.

- Liberty is now 1-4 against Top 25 opponents this season.

- Amber Bishop is now tied for sixth in program history with 114 career runs scored, one of four players to do so. She is now ninth in program history with 38 career doubles and seventh with 121 career RBI.

Up Next
The Lady Flames close out their time at the Louisville Slugger Invitational tomorrow, taking on Ohio at noon ET at LBSU Softball Complex.