Another week, but with radically different results than the week before. The #12-ranked Lady Bruins took the middle of the week off and traveled to Tempe for a weekend series against the #5-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. Unfortunately, their road trip went exactly as they didn't want it to go, as ASU swept UCLA in three straight games.
Starting on Thursday, the Bruins got their weekend off on the wrong foot, getting blown out by Arizona State, 9-1, in a mercy rule shortened six-inning affair. Jessica Hall got the start for UCLA and the sophomore ace did well for the first two frames, keeping the potent Sun Devil offense in check until the third inning, when things started going downhill. In the following four innings, ASU pounded Hall for 9 runs on 10 hits, while drawing 4 walks. Hall could only manage two Ks and ultimately got saddled for the loss. On the offensive side, there wasn't much life in the Bruin bats, with only Katie Schroeder managing more than 1 hit (2-3, 0 R, 0 RBI), while the Bruins' lone run was driven in by Andrea Harrison (0-2, 1 RBI). In fact, ASU phenom Dallas Escobedo managed to hold UCLA's formerly potent offense to just four hits over six innings.Friday wasn't any better for the Lady Bruins, as Arizona State again destroyed UCLA, 9-1, using the mercy-rule to end the game early after just five innings. Ally Carda took the hill for the Bruins, but only lasted one-and-one-third innings (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 K), before turning the ball over to Jessica Hall, who for the second day in the row got blasted by the Sun Devils. In three-and-one-third innings, Hall got shellacked for 7 runs on 7 hits, while issuing 5 walks. Offensively, Saturday was no different than Friday, with the Bruins able only to muster 5 total hits, and the lone running coming from Andrea Harrison's (1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR) solo shot. Arizona State's undefeated pitcher Hillary Bach threw a gem for the Sun Devils to run her record to 16-0 on the season.
On Saturday, the ladies wrapped up their Arizona road trip (thankfully for them), and while their last game in the series was more encouraging, it was still a loss, albeit it just a 4-2 loss. The loss to ASU marks the Lady Bruins fourth loss in a row. Dallas Escobedo took the mound for ASU again, and once again threw a solid game to earn her 14th win on the year. Opposing her was freshman Ally Carda, who went six innings, surrendering 4 runs on 6 hits and 8 walks, while failing to strikeout a single Sun Devil. Offensively, the Bruins once again got a solo shot from Harrison (1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR), while the only other offense came courtesy of Stephany LaRosa's RBI single, driving in Katie Schroeder. But when you can only notch 3 hits, there are very few games you will be able to pull out.
With the nasty sweep this weekend, UCLA falls to 25-10 overall and 2-4 in Pac-12 play. The ladies are actually back in action later today in a double-header against Stanford at Easton Stadium starting at 5 p.m. So if you're on campus, head out there and catch a game (or two) and hopefully our squad will be able to turn it around prior to they again hit the road this upcoming weekend to take on Washington in Seattle.
Fire away with your thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the softball team in the comment thread.