After a seven-year drought in which it lost twice in the women's College World Series title game, had its 1995 national championship taken away and was banned from postseason play in 1998, UCLA won its first national softball championship since 1992 today, and may have begun a new era of domination in the process.
The Bruins scored three runs in the first two innings and defeated Washington, 3-2, before 4,472, winning the eighth national championship in school history.
Series most outstanding player Julie Adams, who had two hits for the third game in a row after dislocating her left shoulder in the Series opener, drove in the first two runs with a two-out single in the first. Courtney Dale added a home run in the second for the third run, and pitched four innings for the victory.
The Bruins (63-6) set the school record for victories in a season, the final in a series of school records this year's team has set, including most hits, runs, home runs, runs batted in and stolen bases. And the Bruins return every starter next season.
"We didn't play our best softball this weekend," UCLA sophomore catcher Stacey Nuveman said. "We have to wait and see. But the potential is there for us to go above what we did this year."
Nuveman was one of six UCLA players to redshirt in 1998. This season, she led the nation in home runs and RBI, finishing with 31 and 91, respectively, both school records.
UCLA 210 000 0 -- 3 8 0
Washington 010 000 1 -- 2 5 0
Dale, Freed (4) and Nuveman. Spediacci, Graves (7) and Giordano. HR -- Dale (UCLA).
UCLA and Arizona have accounted for every NCAA title this decade but one. Overall, Arizona and three California schools have won 15 of the 17 NCAA titles.
Cal St. Fullerton
*1995 title vacated by NCAA Committee on Infractions.