Jordan Woolery's homer helps UCLA beat Alabama in Women's College World Series opener

Jordan Woolery knows how to make a good first impression.

The sophomore making her Women’s College World Series debut launched a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to lead UCLA to a 4-1 win over Alabama on Thursday at Oklahoma City’s Devon Park.

The Bruins will play in the winners bracket Saturday at noon PDT (ABC) against No. 2 Oklahoma or No. 10 Duke.

UCLA (43-10) entered the game as the hottest hitting team in the tournament. The sixth-seeded Bruins led the field with 7.8 runs per NCAA tournament game while hitting .395. But they were hitless the first time through the order against Alabama’s Kayla Beaver, a second-team All-SEC selection.

Beaver opened the door in the bottom of the third by hitting No. 9 batter Janelle Meoño with a pitch, and the sliver of opportunity was enough for the Bruins. Maya Brady and Jadelyn Allchin laced back-to-back singles up the right side to score Meoño and grab a 1-0 lead.

The Crimson Tide answered in the fifth inning with a bases-loaded, RBI single from Kenleigh Cahalan. A throw from Megan Grant limited the damage to just one run as the UCLA right fielder caught Alabama second baseman Kali Heivilin trying to score from second to end the inning.

The Bruins didn’t panic. Brady led off the sixth with a single, then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Allchin. The Tide walked UCLA’s leader in home runs, Sharlize Palacios, but faced Woolery two batters later. The Bruins secured their 12th win of the year when tied or trailing in the fifth inning or later.

Sophomore Taylor Tinsley earned the win in relief, entering in the fifth inning and giving up two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Starter Kaitlyn Terry gave up four hits in four innings.

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