Softball upsets No. 3 UCLA in season opener
TEMPE, Ariz. -- A seventh-inning RBI double by sophomore rightfielder Kacie Gaskin lifted No. 17/18 Texas (1-0) to a 1-0 victory over No. 3/3 UCLA, Friday at the Kajikawa Classic. The Longhorns continued their dominance in season openers, winning their 11th straight opener, while UCLA dropped its first season opener since 1994.
Texas junior righthander Meagan Denny was stellar in her first career opening-day start. Denny (Crowley, Texas) tossed a complete game one-hitter while striking out 11 Bruins.
In the scoreless contest, UT freshman second baseman Loryn Johnson led off the final frame with an infield single and MicKayla Padilla, pinch running for Johnson, stole second to move into scoring position. After senior catcher Megan Willis reached first on a hit-by-pitch, Gaskin (College Station, Texas) stepped to the plate and roped a single down the left field line, scoring Padilla from second and plating the lone run of the game.
UCLA, the third-ranked team in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and the USA Today/NFCA poll, has knocked Texas out of the Women's College World Series in each of the past two seasons.
Denny allowed just four baserunners in seven innings, with one runner reaching on an error, one via a hit and two courtesy of walks. The right-hander struck out eight batters in the first five frames, holding the Bruins hitless during that stretch.
In the Longhorns half of the fourth inning junior shortstop Desiree Williams smacked a leadoff double down the left field line to break up junior All-American Anjelica Selden's no-hit bid. Williams' hit gave UT its first base runner of the game, but the Longhorns failed to as Williams was stranded at second base.
After threatening in the fourth, Texas went down in order in the fifth and sixth, with Selden fanning four of six UT hitters. The Bruins then went on the offensive, tallying their first hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth on a leadoff bunt single by Ashley Herrera, but Denny went on to retire UCLA in order to squelch the leadoff threat.
The Horns return to action Friday evening at the Kajikawa Classic, taking on Cal State Northridge at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Tempe Sports Complex. The Classic is a three-day tourney, running from Friday-Sunday, Feb. 9-11.