Super Regionals next for UCLA softball


Sophomore pitcher Aleah Macon recorded 12 strikeouts in seven innings during Sunday's 7-2 victory over Fresno State in the NCAA regionals at Easton Stadium. Macon and the Bruins will host Louisiana-Lafayette in the Super Regionals this week.

Sophomore pitcher Aleah Macon recorded 12 strikeouts in seven innings during Sunday's 7-2 victory over Fresno State in the NCAA regionals at Easton Stadium. Macon and the Bruins will host Louisiana-Lafayette in the Super Regionals this week. Sarah Michelle Lahti


Time and time again, the UCLA softball team has proven that it is able to win without key starters.

When senior Megan Langenfeld was sidelined with a strained hamstring going into regional competition last weekend, the team ““ and Langenfeld ““ could have easily folded.

But the Bruins (43-11) trounced the St. Mary’s Gaels May 21, and Langenfeld, as if on cue, came back the following day and promptly blasted two home runs to secure a 4-3 victory.

“Nobody was wavering, no one thought that it was too tough or that we weren’t going to make it out,” sophomore Andrea Harrison said. “Everyone had the belief that we were going to win. When the team is on the same page like that, good things usually happen.”

While Langenfeld recuperated as the designated player, sophomore Aleah Macon took the mound and pitched back-to-back complete games, striking out 17 in 14 innings, while surrendering just four earned runs.

“Donna (Kerr) getting that first win and having Aleah (Macon) play tag team was big,” coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “I was really proud of their heart, to be able to go out there and grind it out knowing that Langenfeld wasn’t an option.”

The mental readiness of the entire team is not to be underestimated, and its depth is impeccable, ensuring that they are more than ready for another shot at the College World Series.

“We still have business to take care of,” Langenfeld said. “There has been some highs, some lows, but this season is a bit different because this team really knows how to fight. Even if we get punched first, we know that we’ve been able to punch back.”

After the Bruins punched back and advanced out of the regionals, they will face a Louisiana-Lafayette team (45-16) that is coming off dominating performances against Texas A&M and an upset victory against Louisiana State.

Led by their pitchers, junior Donna Bourgeois (23-9) and senior Brittany Cuevas (22-7), the Ragin’ Cajuns will look to pose a problem for the opposing hitters once again, as the combo held their opponents to just one run over the first three games.

“We know that reputation-wise that they are aggressive; they have speed,” Inouye-Perez said. “I don’t know much about their pitchers, but I know they did something right to shut out LSU, so we’ll respect that, and we’ll be able to learn quickly on how to plan our attack.”

Louisiana-Lafayette strength is at the top of its lineup. Leading off is senior Vallie Gaspard, who is more than capable of creating havoc and getting on base early. On the season, Gaspard has just one extra base hit but is hitting .420 and is 17-for-18 in stolen base attempts.

In the core of their lineup, the Ragin’ Cajuns have a couple of big bats in sophomore Christi Orgeron, who is hitting .316 with 15 homers and 56 RBI, and junior Gabriele Bridges, who is hitting .317 with 17 homers and 55 RBI in the clean-up slot. Bridges was named the Most Valuable Player of the Baton Rouge Regional after hitting .444 with six RBI in nine at bats.

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