This year, the Bruins will not play a second game on Semifinal Sunday.
For nine and a half innings, today’s UCLA softball game was scoreless. Rachel Garcia extended her scoreless streak against the Washington Huskies to an unbelievable 36 scoreless innings and, then, she won the game for the Bruins with a three-run homer in the bottom of the tenth.
Both teams had their chances throughout the game but, ultimately, couldn’t score.
UCLA’s first real threat came in the second when Taylor Pack singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kinsley Washington hit a two-out single but Pack got caught in a rundown between third and home for the third out of the inning.
In the third, the Bruins threatened again when Bubba Nickles doubled and Aaliyah Jordan walked, but, again, UCLA couldn’t get a runner home.
Garcia gave up a lead-off double to start the fifth, but the Bruin defense held and stranded the runner on second. Washington threatened again in the sixth when they got a pair of one-out singles, but Garcia struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Washington got two runners on in the top of the seventh on a one-out single followed by a walk, but Garcia struck out the next batter for the second out and then got a pop-up to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Pack led off with a walk, but the Bruins couldn’t do anything to advance her and the game went into extra innings.
In the eighth, the Huskies mimicked the seventh inning with a one-out single followed by a walk, but Garcia fielded a comebacker and tossed to third to get the lead runner for out number two. After a walk to load the bases, the National Player of the Year struck out Madison Huskey on an eight-pitch at-bat to end the biggest Washington threat so far.
In the bottom of the eighth, UCLA got a pair of one-out singles from Nickles and Perez, but Jordan and Garcia couldn’t get them across and we headed to the ninth.
After Garcia struck out the first two Husky batters in the ninth, she gave up a single and a walk, but she escaped this inning with her fifteenth strikeout of the game. That would be the final Washington threat in the game as Garcia threw a 1-2-3 tenth inning.
Kelli Godin got the Bruins going in the tenth with a lead-off infield single. After Nickles popped out to short, Briana Perez reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on Aaliyah Jordan’s single up the middle. That brought Garcia to the plate.
All she needed was a single to win the game for UCLA. But, there was absolutely no doubt when the ball left Garcia’s bat that it was gone for a three-run walk-off homer for Garcia.
Game over! Bruins win, 3-0!
Garcia gets her 27th win of the year against just one loss. She allowed just eight hits and four walks over ten innings while striking out 16 for the complete game, extra innings shut out.
Now, they will face either Oklahoma, whom they beat 7-1 back in February, or Alabama in a best-of-three Women’s College World Series Championship Series, starting tomorrow at 4:30 pm PT.
Go Bruins!! Bring home NC#118!!!