Feb. 7, 2009
LOS ANGELES -- The Boilermakers kicked off the 2009 campaign by doing something no other Purdue softball team had before, topping No. 4 UCLA 2-1 Saturday evening. Prior to the contest, Purdue was 0-18 against Top 5 teams in program history.
The Boilermakers scored their two runs on one hit, while holding the Bruins to one run on two hits in the contest. Sophomore Suzie Rzegocki supplied the two Purdue scores with a fifth-inning bloop single. Senior Dana Alcocer struck out four in the complete game victory, while Donna Kerr was saddled with the loss for UCLA.
"The key for us was to stay even keeled and take advantage of opportunities as we got them." head coach Kim Maher said. "Dana did a great job of being resilient. The first inning was a little rocky, but she found a way to get back. This is a huge win for us. One of our goals for the weekend was to beat UCLA and this goes a long way to prove to ourselves and to other teams out there that Purdue is a team to watch.
"I am proud of how resilient we were innings one through seven. We always talk about that if we play great defense our offense will score runs and they did. We have been telling our team that they could play with the best and that we needed to get to the stage where we could beat the best. Tonight solidifies the fact that we can do that if we play our game and focus on our strengths."
Alcocer dodged a bullet, working out of a bases loaded jam with one out in the bottom of the first. The senior struck the next batter out looking and forced a pop up to the shortstop to escape the inning unscathed.
"I just had to stick to my game plan and make adjustments," Alcocer said. "I just tried to take it one batter at a time, one pitch at a time and go with my strengths. This is a great starting point for our team. We are just getting warmed up and are looking for a lot of big wins. This proves to us and everyone else that we are here to play and are a force to be reckoned with."
UCLA posted the first hit of the game with a third-inning single, but came up empty leaving two on at inning's end.
The Boilermakers broke onto the scoreboard with two runs on one hit in the fifth. Senior Katie Mitchell drew a leadoff walk to give Purdue its first base runner. Junior Jenna Alexander then laid down a would-be sacrifice, but everyone was safe on the fielder's choice play. Junior Liane Horiuchi sacrificed Mitchell and pinch runner Kaity Stratten into scoring position. Rzegocki stepped to the plate and dropped a single into short left field to bring both runners home. Rzegocki advanced to second on the play, but was left stranded.
The Bruins would not go down without a fight as Katie Schroeder launched a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to spoil the Purdue shutout bid. Purdue held strong as freshman Molly Garst caught a fly ball to right to seal the upset.
The Boilermakers (1-0) return to action at noon ET when they take on Pacific in the final day of the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament.