OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Texas freshman Mia Scott is so shy that she hasn’t spoken at a news conference all season.
There was nothing timid about the way she swung the bat on Thursday. She went 4 for 4 and helped the Longhorns beat No. 5 seed UCLA 7-2 in the opening game of the Women’s College World Series.
Her performance was bolder than her recent ones.
“The story behind the story there is in super regionals, she really struggled,” Texas coach Mike White said. “She had a tough one. It was in her head.”
She figured it all out against UCLA. She had a triple, a double and two singles for the Longhorns (44-19-1), who hadn’t won a World Series game since a semifinal run in 2013.
Texas’ Hailey Dolcini (23-10) held the Bruins to six hits in a complete game victory, the kind of gritty effort that got the unseeded Longhorns to Oklahoma City.
“Do they have a chip? Yeah, I think they do,” White said. “It’s been a tough year. Not a lot of things have gone our way, to tell you the truth, but they’ve kept their head about them. It’s not an excuse. It’s one of our mantras — no excuses, no regrets, and we’re here to play. It’s fun.”
UCLA’s Megan Faraimo (22-5), a second-team NFCA All-America pitcher who missed last year’s World Series with a hand injury, took the loss.
“This moment is something I was looking forward to for a long time,” a disappointed Faraimo said. “I was just trying to focus on being where my feet are.”
Texas advanced to face defending national champion and No. 1 seed Oklahoma in the first-ever World Series matchup between the rivals on Saturday. Texas handed Oklahoma one of its two losses this season, but the Sooners won two of the three games.
UCLA (48-9) will play an elimination game against Northwestern on Friday.
Texas broke through in the top of the third, highlighted by a two-run homer by Mary Iakopo that chased Faraimo and put the Longhorns up 4-0.
Texas’ Bella Dayton hit a two-run homer in the sixth that chased Holly Azevedo. It was just Dayton’s fifth homer of the season, and it put the Longhorns up 7-0.
Dayton said Texas proved it is a much different team than the one UCLA beat 2-1 on Feb. 19.
“I think that we just eliminated what happened in the beginning of the season and we just kept playing the game that we’ve been playing so far, and I think we just had confidence in what we brought,” she said.
UCLA’s Delanie Wisz broke up Dolcini’s shutout with a two-run homer in the sixth. Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez hopes her Bruins carry that momentum into Friday’s game.
“We didn’t quit,” she said. “I think that’s something that is important that we didn’t quit. We continued to try to fight and find a way to be able to close the gap. And, yeah, that was a huge at-bat. That’s UCLA softball. Lanie has done it for us all year, and I love that she’s doing it here on this stage.”
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