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UCLA Softball Gets Back-to-Back Series Wins Over Stanford and Washington

Photo Credit: Pac-12 Conference
Photo Credit: Pac-12 Conference

The #16-ranked UCLA softball team didn't wait until the next weekend to get back into action, doubling up their games for the week with a mid-week series against #15-ranked Stanford. Fortunately for UCLA, the extra action didn't hurt as the Bruins picked up a pair of series wins, first by taking two of three against the Cardinal before following it up with a pair of wins to take the series in Seattle against #7-ranked Washington. Needing to pick up some momentum after last weekend's crushing sweep in Tempe against then #5-ranked Arizona State, the Lady Bruins answered the call.

Starting on Tuesday, the Cardinal started strong, picking up the first game of the series in a high-scoring affair, dropping our Lady Bruins 11-9. Ally Carda took the hill for the Bruins, and despite getting hit well by the Cardinal, giving up 5 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks over 4.0 innings (to go with her 5 Ks), she managed to do well enough to put herself in position for a win, with UCLA up 7-5 after 4 innings. Jessica Hall came on in relief in the fifth, but was unable to close out the Cardinal, as Stanford blasted 6 runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take the lead for good. Hall (3.0 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 4 K) picked up her sixth loss on the season to run her tally to 12-6 for the year. Offensively, the Bruins easily out-hit their Palo Alto counterparts (14-7) but stranded too many runners (10 total to Stanford's 1). Stephany LaRosa was once again the offensive star (4-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR) blasting off her 11th and 12th homers of the year. Dani Yudin (2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI) also launched one deep (her 5th of the season), but it wasn't enough as the Cardinal were able to play 11 runs on just 7 hits.

At the back-end of Tuesday's doubleheader, the Bruins were able to keep their offensive fireworks going while finding a way to keep the Cardinal offense in check enough to end the game early on the mercy rule, winning 12-4 in five innings. Destiny Rodino got the rare start for UCLA and the crafty veteran made the most of it, going 3.1 innings (5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K) and doing enough to pick up her third win of the year. Ally Carda came took over in the fourth and went 1.2 innings (1 H, 1 BB, 2 K) to close the door on Stanford and notch her first save of the year. Stephany LaRosa (2-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 HR) launched her third homer of the day (13th on the season) while Andrea Harrison (2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR), B.B. Bates (1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR), and Samantha Camuso (2-3, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR) all put one over the wall to help lead UCLA to an easy win to even the series up.

On Wednesday, the Bruins took on the Cardinal in the series rubber match, which didn't have the offensive fireworks of Tuesday's games. But, the lack of offense worked for UCLA, as the Bruins took a 5-2 win and grabbed the series victory from Stanford. Ally Carda took to the mound for the Bruins, and unlike Tuesday, came out strong, going 5.1 innings (6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K) to notch her 12th victory of the year. Jessica Hall came on in the sixth and closed the Cardinal out (1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K) to pick up her 4th save of the season. While the Bruins still struggled with leaving runners on base (7 LOB), it was the usual suspects leading the Bruin offense again - freshman 3B Stephany LaRosa (2-3, 1 RBI), B.B. Bates (1-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR), Samantha Camuso (1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR) - but with the added help of Carda (3-3, 1 RBI), who not only pitched a strong game, but got her first three-hit game.

On Friday the 13th, the Lady Bruins found themselves in Seattle, kicking off a three-game weekend series against the Huskies, and fortunately, the Friday the 13th curse bit Washington, as the Bruins stormed back in dramatic fashion to win 7-5. Ally Carda took the hill for the Bruins but wasn't able to keep her momentum from Wednesday's win over Stanford going, as she struggled through 2.1 innings (3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K) before giving way to Jessica Hall in relief (4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 6 K). Things were not looking good for UCLA, down 5-0 with two outs in the top of the 6th, when the Bruins went on a remarkable run, knocking in 7 runs in an improbable turn of events. B.B. Bates (1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI), Ally Carda (1-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR), Stephany LaRosa (1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI), and Katie Schroeder (2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI) drove in the Bruin runs to take the lead. With UCLA now ahead 7-5, Hall shut the door the last two innings, keeping the Huskies off the board to notch her 13th win of the year.

The next day, building on Friday's radical turn of events, the Lady Bruins cruised behind a pitching gem by Jessica Hall, beating Washington 5-0 to secure another series win. Coming back after the prior night's comeback win, Hall threw a complete game, four-hitter, while striking out a season-high 10 batters (7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K) in her 14th win of the year. Dani Yudin (1-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR) drove her sixth homer of the year into the stands, while Schroeder (1-3, 1 RBI), LaRosa (2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI), and Camuso (1-3, 1 RBI) drove in the remaining Bruin runs, which could have been more had UCLA not stranded 10 runners.

Finally, on Sunday, the Lady Bruins were unable to pick up a sweep in Seattle against #7-ranked Washington, falling in the third game, 5-2. Ally Carda (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K) started for the Bruins, but only lasted one inning before giving way to Jessica Hall (5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K) who ended up losing her seventh game of the year. For the first time in a week, the Bruin bats mostly fell silent with only catcher Dani Yudin (1-3, 2 RBI) able to drive any runs home for UCLA. Limited to just four hits (Schroeder, LaRosa, Andrea Harrison, Yudin), Washington finally found a way to stymie the Bruins.

At the end of the 4 win, 2 loss week, the Bruins now find themselves at 29-12 overall and 6-6 in Pac-12 play. The ladies will next be in action in a one-off game against Cal State Northridge on Wednesday before turning to a weekend series against Utah at Easton Stadium this weekend.

Fire away with your thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the softball team in the comment thread.