#12 UCLA Softball (34-12, 8-7)
Opponent: Stanford (18-24, 1-14)
When: 6:00 PM PT, Friday, April 28, 2017
Where: Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium. Stanford, CA
Video: Stanford Live Stream
Live Stats: Stanford StatBroadcast
The Bruins are in northern California this weekend for a three-game series against Stanford. After a strong midweek victory over Cal State Northridge, UCLA extended its winning streak to five games, during which the Bruin hurlers have allowed just seven runs in 35 innings.
After winning last week's Pac-12 Player of the Week and Pac-12 Freshman of the Week awards, Rachel Garcia wasted no time in establishing her credentials for this week's awards. Although she didn't start for the Bruins, she was back in the circle when the Bruins needed her, and she was awfully good at the plate, too.
Against the Matadors, UCLA struggled to produce runs for most of the game. The Bruins scored a run in the top of the second when Garcia smashed a one-out double to left center and Gabrielle Maurice laced an RBI single up the middle.
The Bruins wouldn't score again until the seventh.
Meanwhile, Selina Ta'amilo kept the Matadors in check. Ta'amilo overpowered the Northridge batters, striking out seven through the first five innings while limiting the Matadors to three hits. Garcia replaced her to start the sixth with UCLA clinging to a 1-0 lead.
That changed in the top of the seventh. Shaw started the inning with a bunt single, which was followed by singles from Kylee Perez and Brianna Tautalafua for one RBI, and a double by Madeline Jelenicki for two more RBI. Garcia drove in the final run with a single up the middle to give UCLA a 5-0 lead.
Garcia was back in the circle for the bottom of the seventh, but after striking out the first batter, Ta'amilo returned to the circle to get the final two outs and improve her record to 10-0. She ended up pitching five and two-thirds scoreless innings while striking out eight.
Garcia led UCLA with three hits, and Madeline Jelenick increased her team-leading RBI total to 44.
BRUINS WIN!!! The final non-conference game of the season is a 5-0 win over CSUN. On to Stanford this Friday. pic.twitter.com/nGrbxDDqlD— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) April 27, 2017
The sweep of Cal last weekend helped the Bruins to climb into a fourth-place tie with Washington. UCLA will hope to continue to gain ground in the conference standings when it plays last-place Stanford this weekend. The Cardinal have won just one Pac-12 game so far this season, so if the Bruins return home with anything less than a series win, they'll have to consider the weekend a wasted opportunity.
I expect Rachel Garcia to be back in the circle for the Bruins this afternoon. If UCLA can score three or four runs for her, that should be enough to get the series off to a good start.