With a nonconference victory over Loyola Marymount, UCLA finished off its final midweek game, as only five games now remain on the schedule before the postseason.
The No. 17 Bruins (33-17, 8-13 Pac-12) won 8-4 and were able to get the majority of their offense early in the game, which would serve as a cushion for a shaky defensive effort.
Six of the team’s eight runs came in the first two innings.
Sophomore shortstop Stephany LaRosa led off the bottom of the first with a home run, followed by a double from senior outfielder B.B. Bates.
She would score on freshman third baseman Mysha Sataraka’s single. Two errors allowed the Bruins to cash in two more runs in the inning.
In the bottom of the second, LaRosa hit her second home run of the game and her 13th of the season. Bates tripled and would later score on a fielder’s choice to give UCLA a six-run advantage.
“I think it’s our thing now, we like to attack early,” Bates said. “We used to be the team that we can come back at the end, but I think us attacking early … will be the key for us to have a great success in the end.”
Sophomore pitcher Ally Carda took a no-hitter into the fourth inning before the defense behind her started to falter.
“We’ve been having trouble with midweek games,” Carda said. “We’re trying to just come out strong with energy, so I was just trying to set the tone with pitching.”
She allowed her first hit after LaRosa committed a fielding error that would result in three runs, two unearned, scoring later in the inning as the Lions cut UCLA’s lead in half.
When LaRosa committed another fielding error in the sixth inning, she was removed from the game for a defensive replacement.
Loyola Marymount would score its third unearned run of the game in the inning.
The errors were LaRosa’s ninth and 10th of the season, more than double any other player on the team.
This is something she attributes to shifting back to her high school position of shortstop after playing third base last year.
“You don’t play it for so long, you kind of take it off,” LaRosa said. “It takes some getting used to, you have those days though.”
With the postseason looming, the Bruins will have to clean up their defense if they want to be successful against top-notch opponents.
“You don’t want to open up the door with a loose play on defense,” said assistant coach Kirk Walker.
“I think if we can shore up a few of those things, you don’t crack the door open for a team to get runs when they do get a hit.”