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    Back-to-Back Eighth-Inning Jacks Launch NU into WCWS Championship Series!

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Junior Garland Cooper hit her second home run of the 2006 WCWS Sunday to help eliminate UCLA. (AP Photo)
    Junior Garland Cooper hit her second home run of the 2006 WCWS Sunday to help eliminate UCLA. (AP Photo)

    June 4, 2006

    Box Score

    Northwestern vs. UCLA Game Notes in PDF Format
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    Northwestern's Postgame Quotes in PDF Format
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    UCLA's Postgame Quotes in PDF Format
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    WNUR 89.3 FM's full audio montage of Northwestern vs. UCLA

    WNUR 89.3 FM's postgame interview with sophomore Darcy Sengewald

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- With Northwestern one strike away from the Women's College World Series championship series Sunday afternoon, No. 1 seed UCLA singled home a run in the bottom of the seventh to knot the score, 1-1, and force extra innings.

    In the top of the eighth, freshman Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) led off with a home run to left field on a 1-1 count. Junior Garland Cooper (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) made it back-to-back jacks with a solo shot of her own to give the Wildcats back the lead, 3-1, and set off a purple party in the stands.

    Junior starter Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif./Paradise) then came out in the bottom half of the inning and quickly earned a strikeout and a groundout to sophomore Darcy Sengewald (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln Way East) at third for the first two outs of the frame.

    At that point, the crowd of 5,641 rose as one to clap along with the group of Northwestern faithful seated behind the NU dugout. When Canney's third strike to UCLA's Emily Zaplatosch blew by the senior's swing to end the game, ASA Hall of Fame Stadium erupted.

    Oklahoma City is officially wearing Purple.

    By virtue of its 3-1, eight-inning victory, Northwestern advances to its first-ever Women's College World Series championship game. The Wildcats will face the other Wildcats -- the Arizona Wildcats -- in the first game of the best two-of-three championship series at 7 p.m. CT Monday on ESPN2. NU is the lone remaining unbeaten at the WCWS.

    The Wildcats' overall record now is 50-13, the first time in program history NU has reached the 50-win plateau. Northwestern's previous high for wins in a season was 43 set in 1987. The Wildcats' win also knocks UCLA out of the WCWS championship series for the first time since 2002.

    Williams' and Cooper's home runs mark the first time this season Northwestern has hit back-to-back jacks. Williams now has 14 on the season, tying teammate Kristen Amegin's (West Sacramento, Calif./Elk Grove) Northwestern single-season record set in 2005.

    Cooper's blast gives her 10 on the year and 32 for her career, tying her for eighth in the history of the Big Ten Conference. Northwestern now has six home runs from five different people in three WCWS games.

    Canney finished the game with six strikeouts after allowing one run on six hits and two walks to up her record to 26-7 on the season. Her 26 wins ties Lisa Ishikawa's total from 1985 for second on the Wildcats' single-season list.

    In the top of the second inning, Northwestern jumped on the board first courtesy of the Wildcats' fourth home run of the World Series. Leading off the frame, senior Jamie Dotson (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) turned on a ball and sent it over the right-field fence to give NU a 1-0 lead.

    The homer was Dotson' fourth of the season and the 11th of her career.

    In the bottom half of the second, UCLA put together its first threat of the contest. A walk, a single and another walk loaded the bases for the Bruins, but Canney got speedy Tara Henry to hit a big chopper to Williams at short. She charged in, gloved the ball and quickly fired to first to end the frame with no runs for UCLA.

    The Bruins put a runner on first in the bottom of the fifth inning with one out, bringing leadoff batter and Pac-10 Player of the Year Andrea Duran to the plate. Canney jammed Duran and coaxed a popup to Cooper at first. The runner at first had taken off for second on the pitch, and Cooper flipped to senior Ashley Crane (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake) to complete the double play.

    Northwestern got base hits against Selden in every single inning except the first, including a two-out double from Sengeweld in the seventh. No extra Wildcat runs came from any of those situations, however.

    In the bottom of the seventh, Jodie Legaspie led off with a hot-shot double down the line in left. After a sacrifice bunt moved her to third, Canney got a groundout to Sengewald for the second out of the frame. A pinch-hit single then plated Legaspie with the game's tying run.