It was Senior Day yesterday at Easton Stadium. Before the game, UCLA honored Jelly Felix, Johanna Grauer, Madeline Jelenicki, Kylee Perez, and Selina Ta’amilo.
After the game, it was Madeline Jelenicki being celebrated.
That’s because Jelenicki hits a walk-off home run over the 1985 national championship sign in left in extra innings to win the game and the series for the Bruins.
BRU-WINS!!!! 2-1 UCLA in nine over Arizona State to take the series. pic.twitter.com/w3qtWAd0Ld— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) May 12, 2018
Until that point, the game had been a pitcher’s duel. Giselle Juarez was back in the circle for the Sun Devils while Holly Azevedo started for the Bruins.
UCLA drew first blood. In the fourth inning, after Juarez walked Briana Perez, Jelenicki made her pay for it by hitting an RBI single off the left field wall and the Bruins went up 1-0.
But, the Sun Devils got the run right back in the fifth when DeNae Chatman homered to right center off Azevedo.
Overall, it was quite a pitching performance on both sides. Azevedo struck out 7 in just 52⁄3 innings while scattering just two hits and one walk before being relieved by Rachel Garcia. Garcia shutout the Sun Devils in the remaining 31⁄3 innings while striking out 3 and giving up just one hit and one walk. She finishes the regular season with a record of 21-2.
For the Sun Devils, Juarez went the distance, pitching 82⁄3 innings while giving up 6 hits and 3 walks and striking out 8. She drops to 23-4 for the year.
Unfortunately, Thursday’s loss to the Sun Devils will keep the Bruins from capturing a share of the Pac-12 title because Oregon won its game against Cal and UCLA finishes the regular season a game behind the Ducks.
It’s hard to believe that a team that went 50-4 overall and 20-4 in Pac-12 play will actually come in second place, but that’s what has happened. Next up is the NCAA Regionals, where UCLA is almost a lock to serve as a host school.
Diamond Notes: After the game, the Pac-12 announced that Garcia has been selected as the Pac-12 Player of the Year. She is joined by Aaliyah Jordan who is the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year as well as the conference batting champ. Both were named to the All-Pac-12 First Team along with teammates (and sisters) Kylee and Briana Perez.
Bubba Nickles earned a selection on the All-Pac-12 Second Team while Madeline Jelenicki, who missed more than half of the season, was selected to the All-Pac-12 Third Team. Jordan, Briana Perez, Holly Azevedo and Kinsley Washington were each chosen for the All-Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. The Perez sisters were also selected to the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team.