The power pitching of DeeDee Weiman and 22 hits in two games made the long road back easy for UCLA Saturday, as the Bruins scored blowout victories over Illinois Chicago and Utah to advance to today's semifinal round of the Women's College World Series at Hall of Fame Stadium.
Because of a first-round loss to Fresno State on Thursday, UCLA had to work its way back through the losers' bracket for the first time in 12 national championship appearances. The Bruins, however, did not find that a problem, beating Illinois Chicago, 9-0, in five innings, and then Utah, 11-1.
"I think we've been waiting for this day all year," said UCLA shortstop Nicole Odom, who went three for six with three runs batted in.
UCLA (43-13) will face Arizona (62-3) today at 10 a.m. PDT in a semifinal game. The Bruins need to beat top-ranked Arizona twice to advance to Monday's championship game. In the other semifinal, unbeaten Cal State Northridge (51-8) faces Oklahoma State (45-11) at 12:30 p.m.
Illinois Chicago (56-19-1) didn't put up much of a fight in the Bruins' first game of the day. Weiman and B'Ann Burns combined on a no-hitter that was called after five innings because of a mercy rule.
Against Utah (51-13), the Bruins got 12 hits in support of starter Weiman (21-8). Burns faced four batters in relief in the sixth and gave up three hits, a walk and an earned run before Weiman returned to strike out the side on 11 pitches. Weiman gave up two hits and struck out 14.