The undefeated UCLA Bruins head into Pac-12 play ranked second in ESPN/USA Softball Poll and third in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. Tonight, UCLA begins conference play with a weekend series in Eugene against the Oregon Ducks.
UCLA wrapped up the tournament portion of the schedule with a perfect 24-0 record by defeating #16 Ohio State, 11-0, in five innings and #21 Long Beach State, 6-5.
Against Ohio State, the Bruins got on the scoreboard in the top of the first with a sacrifice fly by Rachel Garcia which scored Briana Perez. Meanwhile, Perez hit a two-run homer in the second that drove in Zoe Shaw.
The game stayed 3-0, UCLA, until the top of the fifth when the Bruins exploded for eight runs. Aaliyah Jordan doubled to start the Bruin rally. Four walks and two hit batters later and UCLA was leading 7-0. A Skylar Hayward wild pitch made it 8-0 when Shaw scored and singles by Jordan and Garcia added three more runs to give the Bruins an 11-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Selina Ta’amilo gave up just two hits while striking out two in five innings for her fourth win of the season.
In the second game, Long Beach State scored first in the bottom of the first when Garcia gave up a single to Taylor Rowland that scored Nichole Frye.
In the top of the fourth, UCLA exploded for the second time on Sunday. This time, UCLA scored four runs in the inning. Jordan singled to start the inning and eventually came home on a walk to Julie Rodriguez. Jenna Crawford, pinch-running for Brianna Tautalafua, then scored on a Malia Quarles sacrifice fly while Kinsley Washington singled home Bubba Nickles. Finally, Briana Perez singled home Rodriguez and Washington as the Bruins jumped out to a 5-1 lead.
The 49ers got a run back in the bottom of the fourth, but UCLA added one of their own when Jordan hit a solo shot in the top of the fifth to give the Bruins a 6-2 lead.
Long Beach State managed to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth but they couldn’t tie it up as Garcia earned her tenth win of the season despite it being her shakiest outing of the year, giving up five runs on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Tonight’s game should be a good one as it matches up a pair of Top 10 teams in the Ducks and the Bruins. Can UCLA remain undefeated?
This is your UCLA at Oregon softball open thread.