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WCWS notebook: UCLA pinch hitter Malia Quarles hits clutch homer

Oklahoma State's Raquel Dominguez (13) hugs Samantha Show after Show hit her second home run of the night Thursday against Florida. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
Oklahoma State's Raquel Dominguez (13) hugs Samantha Show after Show hit her second home run of the night Thursday against Florida. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez told sophomore Malia Quarles at the beginning of the season that this moment would happen. It was going to be big.

Quarles entered what would become a 6-2 Women’s College World Series win over Arizona on Friday in the top of the sixth inning. The Bruins trailed by a run, and Quarles led off the inning.

“I have literally prepared Malia for this role all season,” Inouye-Perez said.

Her teammates began to expect a home run when she swung the bat in practice. She pinch hit during the regular season in pressure situations, with the bases loaded.

Then on Friday, with full count, Quarles drove a go-ahead home run to center.

“I didn’t swing at the previous two pitches,” Quarles said, so I was like, ‘Well, I’m not striking out. So I’m going to hit this.’”

Inouye-Perez said she believes Quarles could be an All-American at another program. But she chose UCLA. Quarles’s health kept her from being an every day player for UCLA this season, according to Inouye-Perez. But Quarles embraced her role.

After Quarles’s home run, Inouye-Perez told her, “That’s what you signed up for, girl, and it happened. I’m so proud.”

Show’s homers by the numbers

Oklahoma State star Samantha Show’s two home runs were clutch Thursday night, but it’s not really anything new — only on a bigger stage.

Show had hit 20 home runs this season, adding to her single-season OSU record, entering Friday night’s Bedlam showdown.

Of those 20 homers, 14 of them came when OSU was either tied or trailing in the game, including both of them Thursday.

And 11 of them either tied the game or gave the Cowgirls the lead at the time — again, including both of them Thursday.

What’s in a name

Giselle Juarez wants to set the record straight about her name.

"Either one's fine," she said with a laugh.

The Oklahoma pitcher has become known as widely by her first initial, G, as by her given first name. On the day the Sooners opened play at the Women’s College World Series, she was still listed as Giselle by the team on its lineup, but even on her press-conference placard during the postseason, she's been listed as simply G Juarez.

"Someone asked me, 'Did you tell them to call you G?'" she said. "No.”

She laughed again.

“I don't mind, but I have noticed."

Her parents still call her Giselle, and because of that, she admits when people use her given first name, she sometimes wonders if she's in trouble.

Regardless, she will answer to either G or Giselle.

"People do sometimes mispronounce it; it's hard to mispronounce, but they do," she said. "So, I think going by G is a little bit easier."

Play ball

Major League Baseball, USA Softball and the OKC Dodgers are teaming up to celebrate the Women’s College World Series at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Saturday.

The event is an extension of MLB’s PLAY BALL initiative, which seeks to inspire children to play baseball and softball. The free event includes a series of casual baseball and softball-related activities. It is open to the public for children ranging from 4 to 13 years old, and those interested can register at Each participant will go home with a PLAY BALL bat and ball.

Along with representatives from MLB, the OKC Dodgers and USA Softball, Team USA players Haylie McCleney and Sahvanna Jaquish are scheduled to attend.

Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›

Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›

Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›