Two games, two more wins for the Bruins at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City.
In the first game, UCLA blanked Nebraska 5-0 and, in the second, the Bruins defeated Liberty 4-3.
The first game was all about the pitching for UCLA. Rachel Garcia struck out 11 while allowing 2 hits and 2 walks, en route to the 5-0 shutout.
Of course, having the Bruin bats behind a great pitching effort helps. In the bottom of the third, Aaliyah Jordan hit a 2-run homer to dead center to put the Bruins up 2-0. Jordan’s homer would prove to be the game-winner. Brianna Tautalafua followed Jordan with a double and Garcia would help her own cause by driving Tautalafua in to give the Bruins an insurance run.
UCLA would add two more insurance runs in the sixth, but, with Garcia on the mound, they wouldn’t be needed.
In the nitecap, Liberty scored a run in each of the first three innings of Bruin starter Johanna Grauer. So, it’s a good thing the Bruins have been crushing the ball at the plate.
UCLA scored twice in the bottom of the first to take back the lead. This time, it was Kylee Perez providing the spark with a double to left center. Jordan walked and a double steal gave the Bruins runners on second and third with just one out. Tautalafua to score Perez but the catcher couldn’t come up with the throw home and Jordan was able to score on the error as UCLA took a 2-1 lead.
With Liberty scoring in the first three innings, they retook the lead in the third 3-2 and Selina Ta’amilo relieved Grauer to start the fourth. Ta’amilo shut down the Lady Flames and the Bruins took advantage of their opportunities in the fifth.
Again, it was Kylee Perez coming up big for the Bruins with a triple to right. That caused Liberty coach and former Bruin Dr. Dot Richardson to go to her bullpen, but the bullpen let her down as Jordan worked her way through a patient at-bat until she got the pitch she was looking for. That’s when Jordan hit her second two-run home run of the day and gave the Bruins a 4-3 win.
Today’s game looks to be a tough one as the Bruins will face the #7/8 LSU Tigers. Like the Bruins, the Tigers are undefeated. So, someone is coming out of this game with their first loss of the season. I think the Bruin bats will be the difference in this one and UCLA will win. More specifically, I’m expecting Briana Perez to get things going again for the Bruins and I think UCLA will get just enough pitching to win this game.
This is your UCLA vs. LSU softball open thread.