OKLAHOMA CITY — If the Ducks are able to stay alive Saturday at the Women’s College World Series, yet another Pac-12 nemesis will await them Sunday.
Third-seeded UCLA advanced in the winner’s bracket with a 6-5 win over No. 2 Florida on Friday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Bruins (58-5) get to relax on elimination Saturday.
Oregon, which opened bracket play with an 11-6 win over Arizona State before losing 6-2 to Washington on Friday, will face the Florida State-Georgia winner on Saturday (6:30 p.m., ESPN).
If the Ducks win, they would then have to beat UCLA twice Sunday to get to the championship series for the first time.
“This team is on a mission,” Bruins coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “We’re not going to be done until we get down to what our goal is, (which) is to be the last team standing. We know we have to go through the best to be able to do it.”
UCLA, which came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Florida State in the opener, fell in another 4-0 hole against the Gators (56-10).
Florida ace Kelly Barnhill (29-2) had 13 strikeouts and only gave up three hits over seven innings, but two of the hits left the yard.
Taylor Pack delivered a three-run home run to cap the Bruins’ dramatic five-run fourth inning, and Bubba Nickles added a solo shot for a needed insurance run in the top of the sixth.
“I knew I had nothing to lose there, so I just put everything I had into that at-bat,” Pack said. "I tried to do everything I could for the team.”
UCLA starter Rachel Garcia (29-3) had 15 strikeouts but allowed three home runs, including a pinch-hit blast by Jordan Roberts that cut Florida’s deficit to one run in the bottom of the sixth.
Florida coach Tim Walton was ejected with two outs in the top of the seventh after a arguing with home plate umpire Brandon Bluhm.
Moments before Pack’s game-changing home run, Bluhm called UCLA’s Aailyah Jordan safe when it appeared she had been tagged out by Florida catcher Janell Wheaton for the third out before sliding over home plate.
“Are we perfect? No, but we’re here to win,” Inouye-Perez said. “When you’re here to win, you don’t fear failure, you go for it.”