After Friday’s loss which only saw UCLA score one run against Stanford, the Bruins, apparently, found their bats yesterday as they defeated the Cardinal, 7-4, behind 62⁄3 innings from Rachel Garcia who notched her 20th win of the season. This afternoon, the teams meet in the rubber match of the series.
Garcia gave up two runs on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts overall, while Holly Azevedo gave up a pair of runs when she started the fourth inning in the circle for Garcia. After she gave up a one-out homer in that inning, Garcia came back into the circle and finished the game.
UCLA scored early and often in this one. In the top of the first, Garcia hit a two-out single to right-center while Taylor Pack and Aaliyah Jordan each followed with a walk to load the bases. Brianna Tautalafua knocked an RBI single up the middle, which scored Garcia, but Pack was thrown out at home trying to score to end the inning and the Bruins led 1-0.
The beginning of the third inning looked a lot like the first. Garcia came to the dish with two outs again. This time, she reached on a throwing error and Pack followed with a single through the left side of the infield. That’s when Jordan decided to change the script with a RBI double to left-center that scored Garcia to give UCLA a 2-0 lead.
The fourth inning finally saw the Bruins put up a crooked number. Kinsley Washington started the rally with a one-out infield single. Later, Bubba Nickles lined a two-out RBI double down the right field line which scored Washington and Briana Perez hit an RBI single which scored Nickles. That put the Bruins ahead 4-0 after three and half innings.
Stanford responded to UCLA’s rally with their first two runs in the bottom of the fourth on a double and a homer off Azevedo, but the Bruins still led 4-2 after four.
UCLA got some insurance in the sixth. Paige Halstead led off the inning with a single to right-center before Zoe Shaw pinch-ran for her. With one out, Kelli Godin reached on a bunt single to give the Bruins runners on first and second. After a Stanford pitching change, Cardinal reliever Kiana Pancino threw a wild pitch to Nickles which allowed the runners to move up. Nickles took advantage of that by driving the next pitch to left for a two-RBI single and she took second on the throw home. That brought up Perez who beat out a bunt for a hit, but she got caught in a rundown between first and second. She managed to slide into first safely due to a throwing error by the Cardinal centerfielder who had come in to cover second on the rundown. Meanwhile, Nickles scored on the bad throw to put UCLA up, 7-2.
Garcia was able to hold the Cardinal to just a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth while pitching a scoreless seventh to seal the Bruin win.
Today, the teams will meet in the rubber match of the series. It looks to be an important game for the Bruins who have a one-game lead over Arizona and a two-game lead over Washington in the Pac-12 standings with a three-game series against the Wildcats looming next weekend while the Wildcats and Huskies will play today.
This is your UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal rubber game open thread.