OKLAHOMA CITY — Samantha Camuso crushed a three-run home run and B.B. Bates had a two-run shot as UCLA continued slugging its way through the Women's College World Series with a 5-2 win against Georgia on Sunday.
The Bruins (48-11) used the best power surge ever at college softball's premiere event to earn a spot in the best-of-three championship series starting Monday night against either Arizona or Tennessee.
Fifth-seeded UCLA hit a World Series-record eight home runs in three straight wins to end what seems like an extended drought in the championship round for college softball's original powerhouse. The Bruins had played for the title 18 of the first 24 years the World Series was in existence before missing out the past four years.
A UCLA flag in center field was lowered to half-staff and the Bruins' players and coaches wore black armbands with the initials of late basketball coach John Wooden, who died earlier this week at age 99.
Like Wooden, the UCLA softball program has won 10 NCAA championships, although one was later vacated. Wooden was one of the first people to call coach Kelly Inouye-Perez after she was put in charge of the Bruins program, and he later opened his home to the team.
Now, another championship is just two wins away.
Camuso drilled her seventh home run in eight NCAA tournament games deep into the stands in right-center field after Georgia reliever Alison Owen had hit two of the first three batters in the third. By then, Bates had already chased starter Erin Arevalo (20-7) with her two-run drive into the right-field bleachers an inning earlier.
National player of the year finalist Megan Langenfeld (14-1) threw a two-hitter and retired the side in order in every inning except the fourth, when Alisa Goler delivered a two-run single for the Bulldogs' only offense.
Georgia (50-13) held the old World Series record with seven home runs hit during last year's event.