Photo Credit: Daynuh33
With the season now in full gear, the #14-ranked softball team had a busy but very productive week, picking up four out of five games, many with offensive fireworks as UCLA found the long ball early and often.
Starting on Tuesday in San Luis Obispo, the Lady Bruins took on Cal Poly in a doubleheader with the total result being 28-5. Yes, that's not a typo. In two games, the ladies pounded out 28 runs. In the first match of the day, ace Jessica Hall got the starting nod for UCLA, and she didn't disappoint, going a full five innings before the mercy rule brought the first game to an early end, while not allowing a single run, only yielding 3 hits, while picking up 2 Ks. With plenty of offensive firepower to back her up, Hall walked away with an easy 14-0 win to notch her 10th win on the year.
In the first game, while Hall pitched a gem, the real story was UCLA's potent offense, which exploded on the back of four homers. 3B Stephany LaRosa had a career day (3-3, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR), launching two homers and picking up 4 RBIs. RF B.B. Bates sent her seventh homer on the year on its way while sophomore backup 2B Talee Snow went 2-3 with 4 RBIs and her first homer of her UCLA career. SS Kellie Fox also came away with a great offensive game, going 3-4 with 3 runs scored.
In the second game, the Bruins handed the ball to freshman Ally Carda, who gave UCLA five solid innings, giving up just one run on four hits while striking out four, all to notch her 11th win on the season. Destiny Rodino came on in relief but struggled, giving up four runs on three hits in just two-thirds of an inning. Jessica Hall came in for her second appearance of the day to close the door on Cal Poly, going the final one and one-third inning without yielding a run or hit. On the offensive end, the Bruins started off slow, going into the top of the fourth tied 1-1. In the next four innings, however, the Bruin bats came alive, as UCLA belted out 13 runs in the final four frames. LaRosa had another huge game (4-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR), blasting off her ninth HR of the year and third on the day. Andrea Harrison (3-5, 1 R, 3 RBI, HR), B.B. Bates (3-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, HR), Katie Schroeder (2-4, 3 R, 4 RBI, HR), and Ally Carda (2-4, 1 R, 3 RBI) all came up big for UCLA at the plate, taking a close, tied came and making it into a slug-fest beat-down.On Friday, the Bruins got their Pac-12 season underway, taking on Oregon State in the first game of a three-game series at Easton Stadium. Fortunately, UCLA's offense picked up where it left off against Cal Poly, as the Bruins came out and put up eight runs to grab a series opening 8-4 victory over the Beavers. Jessica Hall got the start for UCLA and put together a solid night, going 5.0 innings, while yielding 5 hits, 3 runs (only 1 earned), while putting up 6 Ks. Although the Beavers got 3 runs, it wasn't enough and Hall picked up her 11th win on the year. Carda came on in relief, giving UCLA two solid innings of 1 hit, 1 run ball to make sure Oregon State didn't get any closer. On the offensive side, LaRosa and Bates continued to find the power stroke, with LaRosa (2-4, 1 R, 5 RBI, HR) launching her 10th HR on the season (while knocking in 5 runs) and Bates (2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR) smashing her 9th and 10th homers of the year.
Saturday proved to be more of the same, as the Bruins matched a solid pitching performance with another offensive power display, crushing the Beavers to win the series, 8-0 in a mercy-rule shortened affair. Carda got the starting nod for UCLA, but only went two innings, giving up two hits and no runs, before yielding the hill to ace Jessica Hall, who went the balance (3.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 3 K) to keep Oregon State blanked, picking up her 12th win on the year. For the first time that week, LaRosa or Bates didn't launch one over the outfield wall, with Samantha Camuso (1-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR) providing the only long ball in the second tilt against the Beavers. Instead of getting big games from a couple of players, this win was fueled by an even spread of offense, with six different Bruins driving in runs (Schroeder, LaRosa, Bates, Camuso, Dani Yudin, Marti Reed, Snow).
Finally, on April Fool's Day, the Lady Bruins finally ran out of luck, with their 12-game winning streak coming to an end at the hands of Oregon State, losing 7-5 in a close game that nearly became a UCLA comeback victory. Ace Jessica Hall got the start for the final match against the Beavers and could not find the sharp command from earlier in the weekend, getting rocked for 7 runs on 9 hits. Hall went the full 7 innings and managed to pick up 7 strikeouts, but she also issued 3 walks and hit a batsman in a rocky loss that left her at 12-4 on the year. Despite twice coming back from a 3-0 deficit, the Bruins entered the final frame with the game tied up, but Hall got thumped for 4 runs in the top of the seventh putting the Bruins on edge. In the bottom of the seventh, UCLA picked up 2 runs to close the gap and, with two outs, loaded the bases with their big bat in B.B. Bates coming up. But luck wasn't with UCLA as Bates ended the game with a fly out to center, stranding the tying and winning runs. Kellie Fox was UCLA's offensive player of the game (2-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR), picking up her fourth homer of the year.
With the four wins in the last week, the ladies ran their record to 25-7 overall and 2-1 in Pac-12 action. They will get back at it this upcoming weekend in Tempe, taking on Arizona State in a three-game weekend set.