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UCLA Softball Cruises Past Texas A&M But Loses Tough One to Washington

The Bruins’ bats were alive against the Aggies, but then went silent against the Huskies.

Rachel Garcia made just one costly mistake against Washington in an otherwise good performance.

Bruin fans will have to wait longer for UCLA’s 114th national championship after the UCLA Softball team lost to Washington yesterday in the Women’s College World Series.

The day actually started off right as the Bruins’ Kylee Perez hit a first inning home run in UCLA’s first game of the day against Texas A&M. They added two more in the second on an RBI single by Delaney Spaulding that scored Rachel Garcia and Bubba Nickles. Nickles would prove to be the game-winning run as the Aggies would only be able to muster a home run in the fourth and another homer in the bottom of the seventh.

But that seventh-inning homer was too little, too late since UCLA had added five insurance runs as they sent all nine batters to the plate in the top half of the seventh to take a commanding 8-1 lead.

The spark plug for the Bruins’ seventh-inning rally that put the game out of reach happened in the sixth. With runners on the corners, Bubba Nickles took off to steal second. Aggies catcher Ashley Walters threw down to shortstop Kristen Cuyos who was covering second. Cuyos ran Nickles back towards first as Gabrielle Maurice took off for home. Cuyos threw home and Maurice was called out on a play that got assistant coach Lisa Fernandez ejected and suspended for bumping into an umpire. UCLA’s coaches wanted obstruction called, but it wasn’t. Despite the fact that Walters was hurt, she was able to throw down to third and Riley Sartain doubled up Nickles to end the inning.

The UCLA seventh-inning rally started when Paige Halstead reached on an error. Zoe Shaw bunted pinch-runner Imani Johnson over to second. Spaulding drove in her third run of the game when she doubled to left center scoring Johnson. She then scored when Perez singled up the middle. Brianna Tautalafua doubled down the left field line to score Perez for the Bruins’ third run of the inning while Rachel Garcia helped her own cause with a long home run to left and UCLA advanced to play Washington in another elimination game in the afternoon.

Through five innings, the game against Washington was a classic pitchers’ duel. Rachel Garcia had only allowed three hits through five while Taran Alvelo had allowed just one.

In the top of the sixth, Ali Aguilar led off the inning and took a 2-1 pitch down the right field line for a home run. In the bottom of the inning, Madeline Jelenicki walked to get the tying run on base with two outs, but Garcia grounded out to second ending the last threat UCLA could muster and, with that, the Bruins were eliminated from the Women’s College World Series.

Go Bruins.