#12 UCLA Softball (35-12, 9-7)
Opponent: Stanford (18-25, 1-15)
When: 12:00 PM PT, Saturday, April 29, 2017
Where: Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium. Stanford, CA
Live Stats: Stanford StatBroadcast
Anytime the Bruins bang out 20 or more hits, they should win in a cakewalk. However, yesterday's win in the series opener against Stanford was anything but easy. Eventually, UCLA pulled away to record a 13-8 win, but it sure wasn't a thing of beauty.
With Rachel Garcia starting in the circle for the Bruins, a handful of runs is usually enough. And Garcia's teammates gave her plenty of runs to work with in the first two innings.
Garcia put UCLA's first run on the board in the top of the first with an RBI double to drive in Kylee Perez. In the top of the second, the Bruins added five more. With one out, Paige Halstead clubbed a home run to right field; it was her fifth four-bagger of the season. Zoe Shaw followed with a single, and one out later, Perez singled to center, Brianna Tautalafua smacked an RBI double down the left field line, Madeline Jelenicki drove in two more with a double to the gap in left center, and Garcia bashed her second double of the game to bring home the fifth run of the inning.
That gave Garcia a 6-0 lead, but she quickly gave most of it back with the aid of her teammates. Garcia plunked the first batter she faced in the bottom of the second. Then she walked the next batter. One out later, a fielding error by Tautalafua let Stanford's first run across. The Cardinal then managed their first hit of the inning--a single to Bubba Nickles in center. Nickles errant throw allowed another run to score, but it didn't matter much as the Cardinal followed with another single to plate two more runs. Stanford's totals for the inning: four runs (two earned) on two hits.
UCLA re-established a six-run lead in the top of the third. Seven singles and a walk gave the Bruins four more runs, and it probably should have been more but Coach KIP threw away an out playing small ball after the first single.
Coach Inouye-Perez brought in Johanna Grauer to pitch in the bottom of the third. Grauer conceded a leadoff homer but shut down the Cardinal for the next three innings. Heading to the sixth, UCLA held a 10-5 lead.
The Bruins added three more runs to their total in the sixth. Shaw and Delaney Spaulding drew walks to lead off the inning, and Perez' fifth hit of the day loaded the bases. Shaw scored on a foul out before Jelenicki drove in a pair with UCLA's sixth double of the day.
Stanford fought back in the bottom half of the sixth. A two-run homer cut UCLA's lead to 13-7, and then Grauer started issuing free passes. She walked three batters to load the bases before giving up an infield single that pushed another run across the plate.
Although Grauer got out of the jam, her day was finished. After the Bruins went scoreless in the seventh, Garcia came in to close the door on the Cardinal. Even then, she made it exciting by walking two and hitting a batter before getting a pop up and two strikeouts to kill the rally.
BRUINS WIN!!!! That was a wild one, but UCLA beats Stanford, 13-8, to win its sixth in a row!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/PbxPj4sJEd— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) April 29, 2017
Kylee Perez was the batting star for UCLA with a UCLA record-tying five hits. Rachel Garcia added four hits and three RBI, and Madeline Jelenicki added to her team-leading RBI total with five more.
Johanna Grauer got the win to improve her record to 10-4.
Selina Ta'amilo will probably start for the Bruins this afternoon, and hopefully she'll have better results than Garcia and Grauer did yesterday. Although it was fun to watch UCLA's offensive explosion yesterday, it would be good to see a strong pitching performance to go along with the Bruins' slugging.