Texas beats No. 5 UCLA in Women’s College World Series opener

Texas freshman Mia Scott went 4 for 4 to lift the Longhorns to their first Women’s College World Series win since 2013.

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ALONZO ADAMS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Texas catcher Mary Iakopo (33) is greeted by her team at home plate after hitting a home run in the third inning of an NCAA softball Women’s College World Series game against UCLA on June 2 in Oklahoma City.

CLIFF BRUNT, Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Texas freshman Mia Scott is so shy that she hasn’t spoken at a news conference all season.

But there was nothing timid about the way she swung the bat on Thursday. She went 4 for 4 and helped the Longhorns defeat 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 held the Bruins to six hits in a complete game victory, the kind of gritty effort that got the unseeded Longhorns to Oklahoma City.

“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,” White said. “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, a second-team NFCA All-American 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,” Faraimo said. “I was just trying to focus on being where my feet are.”

Texas advanced to play the winner of Thursday’s Oklahoma-Northwestern game on Saturday. UCLA (48-9) will play an elimination game against the Oklahoma-Northwestern loser 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 defeated 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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