The statistics certainly favored the Bruins against the Gauchos.
The UCLA softball team hadn’t lost at home, and UC Santa Barbara was searching for its first road victory of the season.
History between the two squads would also favor the Bruins. No. 7 UCLA came in with only two losses all time against UCSB at Easton Stadium.
And immediately, the Gauchos (12-16) found it difficult to change that number in the doubleheader, as the Bruins (23-5) went on to win the first game 12-2 before following through with a 10-4 victory in the second contest.
The Bruins loaded the bases in the first inning, and junior catcher Dani Yudin promptly followed with a grand slam.
In the circle, freshman pitcher Jessica Hall allowed just one hit and struck out seven in four innings and continued an impressive campaign.
However, the right side of the UCLA infield coughed the ball up multiple times.
“This team is definitely working out how we are going to work together,” junior left fielder Andrea Harrison said. “The only way we can lose is if we beat ourselves.”
But any major damage was avoided as three other Bruins ““ sophomore right fielder B.B. Bates, freshman catcher and designated player Alyssa Tiumalu and Hall ““ went on to hit home runs to lead the Bruins to victory.
“We haven’t been able to come out here and play consistently because of school, finals and the rain,” coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “I rescheduled these games with great hopes to do exactly what we did: getting back in the groove.”
In the second game, the Gauchos went with a pitcher in junior Krista Cobb who has had success against the Bruins. In 2009, Cobb had a complete-game performance en route to a 7-2 UCSB win.
Along with Cobb’s return to Easton, the Bruins’ own sophomore pitcher Destiny Rodino made her first appearance of the season.
But if it was an opportunity to make a case for more time in the circle, Rodino didn’t make much of one early on, as senior pitcher Donna Kerr was getting loose in the bullpen and eventually took over for the last three innings.
The combination of Hall and junior hurler Aleah Macon conceded just two hits in the first game, but the Gauchos sprayed three hits and scored three runs in the first inning against Rodino.
Rodino eventually settled down, and in the bottom of the first, senior third baseman GiOnna DiSalvatore crushed a high pitch well over the right-field trees to put the Bruins within one run.
“It’s a team effort,” DiSalvatore said. “No one individual can win a game; going into Pac-10 play we will need everyone.”
Others would contribute. With two outs in the fourth, Bates broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run double.
Following a DiSalvatore walk, Harrison put the Bruins up 8-3 with a laser that hit the yellow line atop the right-field fence, her team-leading ninth home run on the year.
What Cobb found was difficulty in replicating her 2009 showing; she eventually conceded 10 earned runs and six walks in the Bruin victory.