With a bye from Pac-12 play this weekend, the UCLA softball team has scheduled the final four non-conference games of the season for today, tomorrow and Tuesday. Today, the Bruins will play a doubleheader over the hill in Northridge against St. Mary’s and Cal State Northridge.
Last Time Out
The Bruins haven’t played since last Sunday when they dismantled Washington on the road by a score of 15-5 in a five inning, mercy rule shortened game.
UCLA got things started by plating five runs in the top of the first inning. Bubba Nickles started the Bruins’ rally when she was hit by a pitch. Aaliyah Jordan followed and walked. Rachel Garcia then singled to score Nickles. UCLA loaded the bases when Taylor Pack became the second Bruin to be hit by a pitch in the inning. With two outs, Brianna Tautalafua went deep with a grand slam to center that gave UCLA a 5-0 lead.
Washington was able to score two off starter Megan Faraimo in the bottom of the first.
After sending eight batters to the dish in the first, the Bruins did it again in the second. This time, they scored four more runs. Kelli Godin doubled to start the inning. Briana Perez struck out for the second time in two innnings before Nickles singled to give UCLA runners on the corners. Jordan drew her second walk of the game to load the bases which set things up for a two-run double by Garcia that scored Godin and Nickles. Pack added another two-run double to give the Bruins a 9-2 lead.
Meanwhile, the Huskies got one back in the bottom of the third and it was 9-3, UCLA.
The Bruins added five more in the top of the third on a two-run single by Nickles that scored Kinsley Washington and Perez while Garcia added a three-run homer that scored Nickles and Jordan as UCLA took a 14-3 lead.
Washington scored again in the bottom half of the inning, but it was on a solo homer by Madison Huskey, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 14-4.
UCLA’s final run in the game scored when Perez drove in Godin from third on a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Faraimo finally held the Huskies scoreless in the fourth, which was her final inning of work. She pitched four innings and allowed four runs, three earned runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three. Holly Azevedo pitched the fifth and allowed a pair of runs on a hit and two walks. More importantly, Azevedo was able to limit the damage enough that Washington was unable to cut the UCLA to fewer than nine runs, resulting in the game being shortened by the mercy rule after five innings with a final score of 15-6.
St Mary’s Gaels
The Bruins faced the Gaels back on February 9 in the Hawai’i Paradise Classic. UCLA won that game 13-1 in five innings. That game gave St. Mary’s a 1-3 record. Since then, the Gaels have won six and lost 16. So, they haven’t gotten any better and I’ll be surprised if today’s first game goes longer than five innings.
Cal State Northridge Matadors
Compared to St. Mary’s, the CSUN Matadors are much better, even though, at 15-16, the Matadors still have a losing record. This game probably won’t go very long either. CSUN hasn’t been very competitive against a ranked team this year.
The only question is: Which game will last longer? The answer to that may be determined by who’s in the circle for UCLA as the number of runs allowed will probably decide the answer to that question.
You can listen to both of today’s games right here:
This is your UCLA Bruins non-conference Sunday doubleheader open thread.