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Bruins Sweep Georgia, Punch Ticket to Women’s College World Series
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Bruins Sweep Georgia, Punch Ticket to Women’s College World Series

Taylor Tinsley threw her blue glove into the mud, ran to her catcher Sharlize Palacios and jumped into her arms in celebration as the No. 6 UCLA Bruins punched their ticket to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City with a 6-1 victory. over the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs on Friday night.

Tinsley’s moment came full circle as the sophomore from Lawrenceville, Georgia, slammed the door on some of her former travel ball teammates. She allowed just four hits and struck out six, including Sarah Gordon, to end the game.

“It was a lot of fun competing against a bunch of my friends,” Tinsley told reporters after the match. “I played travel ball with more than half the team and I know a lot from my hometown as well.”

When asked if the moment was a little sweeter because she was from Georgia, she answered the question with a big grin and announced that she grew up a Georgia Tech fan as a child, but did say, “Maybe a little bit. “

When the sophomore committed to UCLA in high school, she attracted a lot of attention. The storied Bruins program had never had a player from the state of Georgia before. Head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez knew Tinsley was a game changer and wanted to make sure she was part of the “Bruin Bubble.”

“She could have easily stayed close to home,” Inouye-Perez said of Tinsley. ” told her how great it would be to be the role model… It’s interesting to come back full circle by playing against Georgia, but Taylor is so much bigger than that.

“I am very proud of her ability to make up her mind both academically and athletically and obviously we are very proud that she is a Bruin,” Inouye-Pereze added. ‘We’ve been waiting for this moment. I could imagine it. She worked for it. It was great to see her play her game tonight.”

As a freshman, Tinsley watched other teams celebrate on UCLA’s home court as the Bruins did not win a game in the NCAA Tournament last season. When this season started, the story was negative. It was almost as if the next chapter picked up where the last one ended. She rewrote it by putting the team on her back and leading them to a record 32nd WCWS appearance.

The game wasn’t all about Tinsley. Palacios hit two home runs and Maya Brady also did her thing. But it was her moment and she deserved to have the spotlight shine on her for a little while longer.

“Her pitches have grown, she’s stronger, her speed is better, but she’s still the same
competitor that we had when she was in ninth grade,” said Georgia head coach Tony Baldwin. “I have a lot of respect for Taylor and her family, this was her moment and she shined tonight. I have nothing but respect and congratulations for her.”

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