Tuesday, September 25

Softball makes mid-game turnaround against Florida to advance to semifinals


Junior catcher Taylor Pack hit a go-ahead 3-run home run in the fourth inning of UCLA softball's 6-5 victory over Florida on Friday night. It was the Bruins' first hit of the night and Pack's third home run of the season. (Grant Mooney/Daily Bruin)

Junior catcher Taylor Pack hit a go-ahead 3-run home run in the fourth inning of UCLA softball's 6-5 victory over Florida on Friday night. It was the Bruins' first hit of the night and Pack's third home run of the season. (Grant Mooney/Daily Bruin)


Game two of the Women’s College World Series had a similar feel to game one for the Bruins.

After No. 3 seed UCLA softball (58-5) completed its 13th comeback win of season 24 hours ago, the Bruins upset No. 2 seed Florida (56-10) for another come-from-behind 6-5 win.

The victory was UCLA’s first 2-0 start in the college world series since the 2010 squad did it, which then went on to win it all.

The starting pitchers of Friday’s game was a battle between this year and last year’s national player of the year winners. Redshirt sophomore Rachel Garcia and Florida’s Kelly Barnhill combined for 28 strikeouts, of which 15 happened through the first three innings.

Barnhill punched out UCLA’s first eight batters to start the game. The right-hander finished the night with 13 strikeouts in a complete game performance.

Garcia also turned in a complete game and struck out 15 batters on 127 pitches, just after a complete game with 15 strikeouts on 146 pitches during the team’s Thursday game against Florida State.

A wild pitch in the first inning produced the first run of the game while Sophia Reynoso went deep for her second on the season in the second inning.

An inning later, Kayli Kvistad tattooed one halfway up the center field bleachers for her sixth of the season to push the lead to 4-0 after the third.

UCLA’s big inning came in the fourth.

Senior second basemen Kylee Perez reached first base on a fielding error to start things off. A fielder’s choice retired Kylee Perez, putting freshman shortstop Briana Perez on first. Redshirt freshman outfielder Aaliyah Jordan was awarded first base after taking one on the elbow. A wild pitch moved the runners over and a Garcia walk loaded up the bases for sophomore utility Bubba Nickles.

Nickles forced another walk, bringing in the first run for the Bruins to make it 4-1. Senior utility Madeline Jelenicki got the second run in with a controversial sacrifice fly in foul territory.

The Bruins took the lead with a 3-run shot by junior catcher Taylor Pack that landed just beyond the left field wall. The home run was UCLA’s first hit of the ball game.

UCLA added an insurance run in the sixth at the hands of Nickles with a towering home run to left center, her ninth of the year.

The Gators, however, did not go away.

Jordan Roberts came off the bench in the next half inning and hit her sixth homerun of the year to left to pull the Gators within one run.

Garcia retired the next four batters to end the game. In the final frame she struck out the side, including striking out Kvistad, who was 3-3 going into her final at bat. The Bruins remained undefeated and advanced to the Sunday semifinals. The four elimination games slated for Saturday will determine who the Bruins will play.

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Daily Bruin contributor

Veal currently covers women's water polo for the Sports section. He previously covered the men and women's cross country teams in the Fall of 2016.


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