Pac-12 play is winding down for UCLA softball, but the Bruins are the most confident they’ve been all season long.
“(Our confidence is) really good. It’s really high,” said senior outfielder Gabrielle Maurice. “We’re just building momentum right now, so every inning, every pitch, just building off that was really good for us.”
Coming off a week in which they rattled off five wins in a row, the No. 12 Bruins (34-12, 8-7 Pac-12) travel north Friday to Palo Alto, California, to face off against the unranked Cardinal (18-24, 1-14) in a three-game weekend set.
The Bruins had their second midweek game of the season Wednesday against Cal State Northridge, which ended in a 5-0 UCLA win. Players and coaches credited Wednesday’s midweek with helping build momentum into the weekend series, something they hope will continue this week as well.
“It’s always a big W when you can come midweek in the middle of Pac-12,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “We just came after a pretty good week of travel, playing great ball, and it’s a mental test.”
Momentum is something that has eluded the Bruins at times this season.
UCLA lost its conference-opening series 3-0 to Utah at home before bouncing back with a 2-1 series win against Washington on the road.
They built on that with a 2-1 series win over then-No. 1 Oregon, but then dropped a series the next weekend to Oregon State.
Stanford has three hitters with an average over .350. Alyssa Horeczko leads the team with an even .400, followed by Teaghan Cowles and Kylie Sorenson, both of whom are hitting .355.
Junior pitcher Selina Ta’amilo will be tasked with helping prevent Cardinal hitters from doing damage to the Bruins. She said she plans to take the execution from Wednesday’s win into the weekend series.
“If we execute what we we’re planning on doing this afternoon, then we’ll grow off of that,” Ta’amilo said. “If we didn’t execute, then we’ll own it in our postgame speech, and work on those things leading up to this weekend, build off that this week, building momentum toward the end of the season/postseason,” Ta’amilo said.