No. 12 UCLA softball picked up a nonconference win over Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, defending a tight lead for seven innings in a close matchup before breaking the score in the seventh inning to win 5-0.
“It’s always big to win in the middle of the Pac-12 play,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez.
The Bruins opened up the scoring in the second inning. Redshirt freshman pitcher Rachel Garcia hit a double to left center, which was followed by a single up the middle from senior left fielder Gabrielle Maurice, scoring Garcia and putting UCLA ahead 1-0.
That score wouldn’t change until the game’s final inning.
In the circle, junior Selina Ta’amilo pitched 5.2 innings without allowing a single run and completing eight strikeouts. Garcia pitched 1.1 innings, starting at the bottom of the sixth.
CSUN also claimed an impressive line in their pitching staff. Senior pitcher Daphne Pofek settled in and pitched five innings, only allowing one run.
After clinging to a one-run lead for most of the matchup, UCLA added to its lead in the top of the seventh.
Sophomore right fielder Zoe Shaw and junior second baseman Kylee Perez each singled, with Shaw going first to third on Perez’s hit. Sophomore third baseman Brianna Tautalafua earned an RBI after she singled to left field, scoring Shaw.
Madeline Jelenicki earned two RBI after she hit a ground-rule double to left field, scoring sophomore Stevie Wisz – who pinch ran for Tautalafua – and Shaw.
Garcia also made her mark by shooting a single up the middle earning an RBI and allowing Jelenicki to score the final run of the game.
“Kylee’s ability to move from first to third … being able to finish strong in the seventh is a great sign of what we are looking to be able to do here going into the rest of the season,” Perez said.
UCLA will head up north to continue the Pac-12 play against Stanford this weekend in a three-game series starting Friday.
“It was a great battle against CSUN on Wednesday and this gives us a good little test on our concentration and discipline for this weekend’s game against Stanford,” Maurice said.