The Bruins’ Sunday ranged from a mercy-rule blowout to an extra-inning comeback.
No. 2 UCLA softball (22-1) defeated Boston University (11-7) and Long Beach State (8-14), putting 12 runs past the Terriers in its eighth shutout win of the season and overcoming a three-run deficit to top the Dirtbags in extra innings by a score of 5-3. The Bruins went undefeated in the UCLA/Long Beach State Invitational to extend their winning streak to six games.
In the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, freshman pitcher Megan Faraimo fanned four batters, allowing five hits and one walk in her fifth full outing of the 2019 season. Sophomore infielder Briana Perez went 4-for-5 with five RBIs, opening the game with a solo home run to right field in the first, and catalyzing the Bruins’ six-run display in the seventh.
Perez said her hitting performance will increase her confidence going into conference play and that games against hard-hitting opponents will propose a positive challenge to the team’s identity.
“I was trying to hit something hard against the ground, which I think ended up working a few times,” Perez said. “My teammates, we’re getting on base, so I couldn’t do it without them. I think it was a really good weekend overall, and we learned a lot about ourselves.”
Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez touched further on UCLA’s high-powered offense and said the resilience of the players to adjust and retain a strong mental focus was crucial despite earning an early lead.
“The first game, although the score ended up showing that we handled it, was a game of adjustments,” Inouye-Perez said. “We are a resilient team – we didn’t get an outcome right away, and so we had people come off the bench to do great things for us.”
The Bruins’ second game saw sophomore pitcher Holly Azevedo give up a three-run home run in the bottom of the first, before redshirt sophomore outfielder Aaliyah Jordan hit a two RBI double in the third to tie the game at 3-3.
Long Beach State took UCLA to extra innings for the first time this season, when sophomore infielder Malia Quarles hit a go-ahead two-run double in the top of the eighth to complete the Bruins’ comeback.
Quarles said she retains a high level of focus by communicating with her teammates before coming off the bench most games.
“I knew I had to (hit) for my team because our coach had enough confidence to put me in that situation,” Quarles said. “I think we did really well. We had a lot of energy and are hitting the ball really hard.”
Inouye-Perez backed her decision to pinch-hit Quarles in consecutive games, noting how squad depth and unity helped UCLA complete its eighth comeback win of 2019.
“(Long Beach State) is a talented, scrappy team, that probably plays their best games against us, and historically it’s just a great battle,” Inouye-Perez said. “The fact that I can go to the bench with talent that is ready to do what they came to this team for is a huge strength for us. (Quarles) came to UCLA to hit, and it was outstanding for her to come through for that big win today.”
The Bruins will look to continue their winning streak in conference play next week, first traveling to Seattle for a three-game series against the Washington Huskies.