UCLA softball took Game 2 of the Super Regional Friday night – a win that will send the Bruins to the Women’s College World Series for a third straight season.
Madeline Jelenicki came up with a two-out, RBI single in the first inning. It would turn out to be the game’s only run, as No. 5-seed UCLA ended No. 12-seed Mississippi’s season with a 1-0 victory.
The junior first baseman’s hit scored sophomore third baseman Brianna Tautalafua, who had just reached on a two-out double.
“Bri was just having quality at-bats in front of me,” Jelenicki said. “I just wanted to get something going for our team, of course, and you only need one when you make plays and you have solid pitching.”
The Rebels, despite their failure to score a run, threatened more frequently than the Bruins.
Ole Miss stranded runners on second and third in both the second and fourth innings, advanced a runner to third in three of the innings and put a runner on base in every single inning.
Junior pitcher Selina Ta’amilo started the game for the Bruins. Despite the early Rebel baserunners, she stayed in the game until the fourth, when she allowed a single and a walk to start the inning.
“Selina has been right there in terms of getting the ball, especially on that day two,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “The team’s used to it, she’s been able to be very consistent, she’s won some big games in the Pac-12 for us.”
With two on and nobody out, Inouye-Perez elected to replace her with redshirt freshman pitcher Rachel Garcia, who threw 232 pitches in Friday’s game.
“Rachel threw 200-plus pitches last night – we needed Selina to have a strong performance,” Inouye-Perez said. “She got herself into some situations, and also got herself out.”
After yielding a sacrifice bunt, Garcia induced a line out and a strikeout to preserve the shutout.
Garcia finished the game, allowing no hits and just one walk.
Brittany Finney started the game for the Rebels, conceding just four hits and the one run in a complete game. This marked the first time that anyone other than Thursday’s starter, Kaitlin Lee, has pitched for Ole Miss in the team’s last 66 1/3 innings.
The Bruins will head to Oklahoma City for the the Women’s College World Series on Thursday.