AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas softball dismantled UCLA in the first game of the Women’s College World Series 7-2 to head to the winner’s bracket.

Senior pitcher Hailey Dolcini delivered another strong performance in the circle, as she went all seven innings, only giving up two runs to earn her 23rd win of the season.

Texas exploded in the third inning, scoring four runs to put UCLA at quite the disadvantage early.

Mia Scott got things started with an RBI triple to put the Longhorns on the scoreboard, which was followed by an Alyssa Washington RBI single to make it 2-0 Texas.

Mary Iakopo delivered the big blow with a two-run shot to left field that made it 4-0 Texas.

The score would be 7-0 before a UCLA home run in the 6th gave the Bruins a couple of runs on the scoreboard.

Texas head coach Mike White highlighted the Longhorns play away from the plate as what provided the key to victory.

“We played great defense, we got the bunts, they tried a number of bunts and we were able to stop them from getting things going, that was really the key for us today, again, good pitching and good defense,” White said.

Texas also got revenge for their 2-1 loss to the Bruins on Feb. 19 at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.

Thursday’s game illustrates just how far the Longhorns have come since their rough patches at the beginning of the season.

“We allowed the beginning of our season to prepare us, so, I’ve said it before, we’ve gotten punched in the face a couple of times and now, finally, we’re punching back as a unit,” senior catcher Mary Iakopo explained.

“It’s been a tough year, not a lot of things have gone our way to tell you the truth, and we’re not making any excuses, it’s one of our mantras, ‘no excuses, no regrets’ and we’re here to play,” White added.

Texas will now face No. 1 Oklahoma on Saturday. The Sooners destroyed Northwestern 13-2 in their WCWS opener.

First pitch for Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m. The WCWS is a double-elimination tournament so a loss will not eliminate Texas.