#6 UCLA Softball (12-2)
Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic II
Opponent: #7 LSU (12-1)
When: 5:30 PM PT, Saturday, February 25, 2017
Where: Big League Dreams Sports Park, Cathedral City, CA
Video: FloSoftball (subscription required)
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
Yesterday UCLA faced its stiffest challenge of the 2017 season (so far!) against fourth-ranked, reigning national champions Oklahoma. Five innings later, the Bruins were licking their wounds after a 10-1 beatdown.
Fortunately, the Bruins have no time to linger over the defeat with games today and tomorrow against two more elite opponents. UCLA will have to take whatever lessons it can from the loss and try to rebound today when the Bruins face the seventh-ranked LSU Tigers (12-1).
Very little went right yesterday against the Sooners. By the time UCLA managed to put its first and only run on the scoreboard, the Sooners had already tallied five, and it would take just two innings more for Oklahoma to double its run total. When the Bruins were retired in the bottom of the fifth, the mercy rule was invoked and the Bruins were put out of their misery.
It wouldn't be fair to describe the loss as embarrassing--after all, good teams have bad days--but UCLA was thoroughly beaten in all aspects of the game. The Bruins committed as many errors as they had hits (3), and only three of UCLA's hitters didn't strike out.
Rachel Garcia had her first poor collegiate start, allowing seven runs (five earned) in just over three innings in the circle. Johanna Grauer wasn't much better in relief, surrendering three runs (two earned) in one and two-thirds innngs of relief. The sole bright spot for UCLA came in the bottom of the third when Delaney Spaulding smashed her fourth home run of the season.
The Bruins have to keep yesterday's loss in perspective as they move on to LSU this evening. Yes, they were trounced, but the Sooners are the reigning national champions, and Sooners' hurler Paige Parker is the ace of the staff. Also, although Oklahoma scored a lot of runs, Bruin errors and mistakes were responsible for a lot of the Sooners' runs.
Today is a new day and the slate is wiped clean. The scoreboard will read UCLA 0, LSU 0 when the first pitch is thrown. Although they will be facing another of the nation's best teams, if they clean up their mistakes on the field and get their bats going again, the Bruins can start a new winning streak today. LSU has a great team, but so does UCLA.