In case you missed it, UCLA swept aside the competition in the Los Angeles Regional last weekend. The Bruins now advance to the Super Regionals this weekend at Easton Stadium. The first game is set for Saturday at 5 PM PDT.
Game 1 - UCLA Crushes Cal State Northridge
The Bruins relied on long ball and Ally Carda's arm to power past Cal State Northridge on Friday. After surrendering a solo shot to the Matador's Katie Hooper in the first, Carda used her bat to bring the Bruins back in the third.
Allexis Bennett ignited the rally with a leadoff double. Carda followed by blasting a home run to right-center to put the Bruins ahead, 2-1. The next batter, Stephany LaRosa, clubbed a solo homer to right, her 16th of the season. Three batters later, Mysha Sataraka ripped a two-run shot to center, the Bruins' third home run of the inning.
The UCLA power surge gave Carda a 5-1 lead heading into the fourth. Although Carda wasn't in peak form, she was consistently stranding CSUN baserunners.
UCLA put four more runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Delaney Spaulding and Bennett led off with consecutive singles, and then pulled off a double steal. With two runners in scoring position, Carda brought them both across the plate with a single to left-center.
After LaRosa was retired, Maddy Jelenicki reached on an error. With runners on first and second, Gabrielle Maurice doubled to right to plate another run. Sataraka drove in the last run of the inning when she lifted a sacrifice fly to right.
That made the score 9-1. When Carda retired the side in the fifth, the mercy rule was invoked, giving the Bruins a five-inning 9-1 victory.
In Ally Carda's five innings of work, she allowed one run on four hits and two walks. Carda struck out three, and threw 76 pitches--an important consideration for Coach Inouye-Perez as she makes plans for her pitching staff for the rest of the weekend.
Allexis Bennett paced the Bruins with three hits and two stolen bases. Ally Carda had two hits, including her eighth homer of the season, and four RBI. Mysha Sataraka also had a pair of hits, including her fifth home run of the year, and batted in three.
Game 2 - The Bruins Mess with Texas
Ally Carda shut down the Longhorns to lead the Bruins to a 4-1 yesterday. And once again, UCLA relied on long ball to power the offense.
After Carda worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, Stephany LaRosa blasted a two-run homer to left-center, her 17th of the season.
The Bruins' 2-0 lead lasted until the third. Texas plated a single run with a pair of singles and a sacrifice. But the Bruins wasted no time in countering. Leading off the bottom of the third, Delaney Spaulding clubbed her team-leading 18th home run, and the Bruins were back up by two.
Carda grew stronger as the game went on, and she had some terrific support behind her. Gracie Goulder saved a run in the fifth when she dove to smother a ground ball hit between second and first and then rolled the ball to first.
Maddy Jelenicki provided an important insurance run in the sixth when she smacked her eighth homer of the season. It was more than enough for Carda. She blanked the Longhorns in the seventh to secure the 4-1 victory for UCLA.
Carda earned her 28th win of the season with seven innings of five hit ball. Although UCLA only managed six hits, they put three of them over the fence. Allexis Bennett was the only Bruin to reach base twice, and her batting average actually dropped yesterday after going 1 for 2.
Game 3 - The Bruins Eliminate the Aztecs
With Ally Carda back in the circle for a third consecutive day, the Bruins desperately needed to avoid a second elimination game on Sunday. The Aztecs countered with their ace, Erica Romero, who had 36 of the Aztecs' 38 wins this season.
For the first time in the regionals, the Bruins were the visitors, and Delaney Spaulding gave the Bruins the earliest possible lead when she slugged a first inning leadoff homer, her team-leading 19th of the season.
The Bruins threatened to score more in the first when they loaded the bases with one out, but they failed to push another run across the plate. In the bottom half of the inning, the Aztecs also managed to load the bases, but Carda killed the threat in much the same way she did the previous day against the Longhorns. This time it was a wild pitch (rather than a passed ball) that sent the runner on third base towards home, but once again Stephany LaRosa pounced on the ball and threw it to Carda for a tag at the plate.
In the second, the Bruins again threatened to do some damage. A leadoff single by Gracie Goulder, and one-out walks drawn by Spaulding and Allexis Bennett loaded the bases for Carda. Carda worked Romero for a base on balls to bring home the Bruins' second run of the day. But Romero killed the rally when LaRosa lined into an inning-ending double play.
Carda settled in after a shaky first and retired the next nine batters she faced. The Bruin bats had gone quiet after the second, but they awoke in the fifth. LaRosa got aboard with a one out single, and one batter later, Gabrielle Maurice belted a home run to left-center to extend the UCLA lead to 4-0.
Although Carda surrendered a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth, the runner was erased when the Bruins turned a 6-4-3 double play.
In the sixth, Kylee Perez added to the Bruins' lead when she clubbed a homer to center. Spaulding followed with a walk and Bennett got aboard with a single. After Carda flied out to right, Stephany LaRosa hit a bomb to right--her 18th of the season--to extend the Bruins' lead to 8-0.
Ally Carda made quick work of the Aztecs in the bottom half to give UCLA an 8-0 mercy rule win over San Diego State. Carda earned her third win of the weekend and her 29th of the season with a three-hit, six-inning shutout. For the tournament, Carda pitched 18 innings in which she allowed just 12 hits and 2 runs.
The Bruins' power surge continued against the Aztecs with Spaulding (19), LaRosa (18), Maurice (9) and Perez (5) all going deep. Allexis Bennett smacked two more hits on Sunday, raising her batting average to .524. Stephany LaRosa was the other UCLA batter to collect two hits. The Bruins belted 10 home runs in the tournament, including three by LaRosa, who hit one in each contest, and two by Delaney Spaulding.
With their sweep of the Los Angeles Regional, the Bruins advance to the Super Regionals. Their opponent will be #10 Missouri (42-14), winners of the Columbia Regional. Bruins Nation will have previews, game threads and recaps of all the weekend action starting on Saturday.