UCLA claims Pac-12 softball championship over Utah with late home run shot

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STANFORD, Calif. — In a rematch of the only other Pac-12 softball championship in conference history, UCLA got its revenge.

In a defensive battle in which both Utah and UCLA combined for only seven hits, it was a solo home run shot to left field by UCLA's Sharlize Palacios in the bottom of the sixth inning that proved to be the deciding run in a 2-1 win Saturday night.

Utah had one last chance in the seventh inning to overcome the deficit, but the Utes couldn't get anything going against closing pitcher Taylor Tinsley, who came into the final inning and threw 15 pitches against three batters to secure the win.

UCLA starter Kaitlyn Terry went six innings and allowed only three hits against 22 batters, while providing also three strikeouts in a mostly clean night for the star pitcher.

After a clean first inning to open up the game for both teams, UCLA was the first to get on the scoreboard with a first pitch solo home run to center field by first baseman Jordan Woolery.

Neither team could get much going for a majority of the game until Utah got the equalizer in the fifth inning on a solo home run shot of their own by Karlie Davison, who was inserted into the lineup as a pinch hitter for Reese Lee. Davison saw two balls before sending the ball over the left center fence, giving Utah a striking chance.

Utah could get nothing more, though, as the remaining seven batters in the lineup in the final 2.1 innings recorded an out.

Utah starter Mariah Lopez pitched a complete game against 24 batters. But despite her five strikeouts, UCLA made Lopez work in the circle. The veteran pitcher faced 11 different at-bats with at least full count and several foul balls to add up to 123 pitches on the night.

The Utes will now wait to see if their name will be called during the NCAA Tournament selection show Sunday (5 p.m. MDT, ESPN2). Utah should be included in the field based on their deep run in the Pac-12 Tournament and overall RPI rating.

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Josh is the Sports Director for KSL.com and beat writer covering University of Utah athletics — primarily football, men’s and women's basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.


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