After a nearly two-week hiatus, thanks to finals and spring break, our #16-ranked UCLA softball team returned to action on Saturday, and they didn't leave their offensive fireworks behind in Cancun/Lake Havasu/Las Vegas, as they hit the road and took on UC Santa Barbara, putting the Gauchos down 10-6.
The Lady Bruins put their sophomore ace, Jessica Hall, on the hill to start, but only made it to through three innings (4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 K) before giving way to Destiny Rodino. Rodino struggled, giving up 3 earned runs in just one-and-two-thirds innings. With the score tied at 5, Ally Carda came in to try to stem the bleeding, which she did after giving up the go-ahead run to UCSB in the bottom of the fifth. Carda was able to close out strong, shutting the Gauchos out for the last two frames, earning herself her tenth win on the year (2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 K).
On the offensive side, the Bruins brought out their bats, scoring 10 runs on 13 hits. Outfielder B.B. Bates led the Bruins with her sixth long bomb of the year and by putting together a strong multi-hit, multi-RBI game (3-3, 3 R, 3 RBI). Catcher Dani Yudin led from behind the dish and in the batter's box, driving in a pair of runs in a 1-3 effort (1-3, 1 R, 2 RBI), while shortstop Kellie Fox (1-4, 2 RBI) only needed one swing of the bat to notch two more RBIs for the year.The Bruins struck first, with Bates' launching a two-run blast to open the scoring in Santa Barbara. But the Gauchos responded to every Bruin offensive stab, usually thanks to the bat of their star catcher Lainey DePompa. The Bruins grabbed another pair of runs in the top of the fifth to run their advantage to 5-3, having earlier taken the lead in the top of the third. Eventually, with UCLA's pitching staff letting the Gauchos stay close, UCSB finally took the lead in the bottom of the fifth, as once again, Lainey DePompa took center stage, launching a two-run shot off Ally Carda to take a 6-5 lead.
The Bruins weren't content to sit back and let the Gauchos steal a victory and the bats came out in the top of the sixth, with the Lady Bruins responding in style. After torching starting Gaucho pitcher Shelby Wisdom for five runs on the evening, UCSB went to Andriana Collins to try to close the door on the surging Bruins, but to no avail. Five runs later, Collins found herself staring a loss straight in the face instead of a save. From that point, the Bruins went into cruise control, with Ally Carda finding a groove and shutting the Gauchos down for the rest of the game.
With the victory, the ladies now find themselves at 21-6 for the season. They'll be in action later today in a double -header against Cal Poly, beginning at 1:00 p.m. PST in San Luis Obispo. So, for those of you so inclined, think of this as your softball vs. Cal Poly open thread as well.