Garcia leads UCLA past Arizona, into WCWS semifinals

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Rachel Garcia avenged her only loss of the season and helped UCLA beat Pac-12 rival Arizona 6-2 in the Women’s College World Series on Friday night.

The Bruins (53-6) advanced to the semifinals Sunday. They need one more win to reach the championship series.

Garcia was 20-0 this season before losing to Arizona on May 9 in Los Angeles. This time, she threw a complete game and allowed just four hits. She also threw every pitch for UCLA in the Bruins’ victory over Minnesota on Thursday.

Arizona (48-13) will play Florida or Alabama in an elimination game Saturday night.

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There was plenty of history in Friday’s matchup. UCLA and Arizona are first and second in national championships and World Series appearances. UCLA has 12 national titles and 29 World Series appearances and Arizona has eight national titles and 23 World Series appearances.

UCLA opened the scoring in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Garcia. Arizona’s Alyssa Palomino tied the game with a solo blast to right field.

UCLA pinch-hitter Malia Quarles’ solo homer put the Bruins up 2-1.

In the sixth, Arizona had two on with no outs and runners at second and third with one out, but Garcia escaped.

UCLA’s Aaliyah Jordan’s double scored Briana Perez in the seventh to push the Bruins’ lead to 3-1. UCLA then took advantage of Arizona’s fielding mistakes to go up 6-1.

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