Tonight, the UCLA softball team plays their penultimate non-conference game of the season when the Bruins host the UCSB Gauchos at Easton Stadium at 6 pm PT.
Last Time Out
UCLA extended their winning streak to eleven games yesterday when they swept a doubleheader against St. Mary’s and Cal State Northridge. Both games were shortened by the mercy rule.
In the opener against St. Mary’s, freshman pitcher Megan Faraimo held the Gaels to one unearned run on one hit and one walk in five innings for her eighth win of the season. She also struck out five.
Briana Perez led off the bottom of the first for the Bruins and laid down a bunt for a hit. After stealing second, she advanced to third on a flyout by Bubba Nickles. Aaliyah Jordan followed with a walk to give the Bruins runners on the corners with one out. Rachel Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to left which scored Perez before Jordan was thrown out trying to advance to second. That gave UCLA a 1-0 lead after one.
The Bruins added another run in the second on a lead-off home run by Taylor Pack and it was 2-0, UCLA.
Kelli Godin started a big Bruin rally in the third when she walked and stole second. Perez singled her in to make it 3-0. Perez stole second and moved up to third on Nickles’ fly ball to center. It became 4-0 when Jordan singled home Perez and Garcia followed with a two-run homer that put UCLA up 6-0.
St. Mary’s finally got on the board on a fielding error by Kinsley Washington, but it was the only run the Gaels would score. The Bruins got the run back in the bottom half of the inning when Godin scored on a fielding error by Bailey Lotz.
While the game was almost certainly over much earlier, the Bruins added two more runs in the fifth to go up by eight, invoking the mercy rule. Washington started off the rally with a lead-off triple. She then scored when Godin singled to short. After Godin stole second, Perez moved her up to third on a grounder to short. With two outs, Nickles walked, giving the Bruins runners on the corners. Zoe Shaw singled back to pitcher, scoring Godin and ending the game with a final score of UCLA 9, St. Mary’s 1.
The Bruin Bashers continued pounding away in the second game against Cal State Northridge. UCLA scored two runs in the first inning. Perez got the rally going when she was hit by a pitch. Nickles then doubled her home and Jordan did the same thing to Nickles.
The Matadors were able to tie the game, 2-2, in the second when they scored a pair of unearned runs off Bruin starter Rachel Garcia.
The tie didn’t last long. With two outs in the top of the third, Garcia doubled and Pack walked. Washington drove the ball to left center, scoring Garcia and UCLA still had runners on first and second. Paige Halstead then singled to right to score Pack as the Bruins took a 4-2 lead.
The game stayed that way until the sixth when UCLA sent 14 batters to the plate and exploded for ten runs. This rally was powered by a home run by Halstead, a pair of triples by Godin and Perez, four singles, three walks and one error by the Matadors. When all was said and done, the Bruins took a 14-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, which Garcia wrapped up without having a runner beyond first base.
Garcia pitched six innings and allowed two unearned runs on one hit and one walk while striking out 11. She is now 13-0 on the season.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
It’s been a rough year so far for the Gauchos. UCSB is just 6-24 coming into tonight’s game with the Gauchos’ best wins coming against Montana and Army.
With Garcia and Faraimo pitching yesterday, I’d expect Holly Azevedo to take the circle today, especially considering the quality of tonight’s opponent.
This should be another mercy rule shortened game for the Bruins.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. UCSB Gauchos softball open thread.