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Rachel Garcia Leads UCLA to Victory over the Sun Devils

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The Bruins won the opener of their series in Tempe with Garcia going the distance in the circle and breaking a 3-3 deadlock with a seventh-inning home run.

@UCLASoftball

#10 UCLA Softball (40-13, 14-8)

Opponent: #22 Arizona State (30-18, 9-13)

When: 5:00 PM PT, Friday, May 12, 2017

Where: Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium. Tempe, AZ

Audio: None

Video: Pac-12 Network

Live Stats: Arizona State StatBroadcast

Official Game Preview | Game Notes

As I wrote at the end of my preview of the opening game of the series, " if the Bruins are going to make it back to the Women's College World Series this year, it's very likely that Garcia will need to play a big role in the postseason." As she demonstrated yesterday in UCLA's 4-3 triumph over ASU, Garcia's impact is hard to overestimate. Not only did she strikeout eight while going the distance for her 17th win of the season, she also drove in two runs with a pair of hits, including a deadlock-breaking solo home run in the top of the seventh.

Garcia drove in the Bruins' first run as well as their last. The game was scoreless after two innings, but Kylee Perez led off the third with a single up the middle, and after a grounder to short advanced her to second, a single through the hole put runners at the corners.

That brought Garcia to the plate, and she drilled a 1-1 pitch to center to bring home Perez. Gabrielle Maurice then singled to drive home the Bruins' second run.

UCLA added a third run in the fourth inning when Delaney Spaulding cracked her team-leading 13th home run of the season.

The Sun Devils struck back in the bottom half of the fourth. Four singles and an error in left brought home three runs, one of them unearned.

The game remain tied at 3-all until the top of the seventh. With two outs, Garcia went deep, driving a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield wall. The solo shot was Garcia's fifth round-tripper of the season.

Garcia made sure the Bruins' 4-3 lead held up in the bottom half, giving UCLA a big game 1 victory.

Highlights of the Bruins; 4-3 win are courtesy of the Pac-12 Networks:

Rachel Garcia was the obvious choice for the postgame interview:

Yesterday's win allowed UCLA to gain a full game in the standings on Utah after the Huskies pounded the Utes in the first game of their series. UCLA remains tied with Washington for fourth place, but the Bruins are now just one game behind third-place Utah and just one and a half games behind second-place Oregon.

The Bruins reached the 40-win mark with yesterday's victory, and it seems a near certainty that the selection committee will have UCLA host a regional. That said, little is certain when it comes to NCAA selection committees, so the Bruins need to keep adding wins to their résumé.

Go BRUINS!