Saturday, May 30

UCLA softball sweeps Oregon State in first home conference matchup

UCLA softball completed their first Pac-12 sweep of the year with help from freshman Briana Perez and a slew of other Bruins who tallied 15 runs during the three-game weekend. (Jenna Nicole Smith/Daily Bruin)

Weekend two of Pac-12 play is in the books, and the Bruins fared much better in their second go with an opponent from the Northwest.

After being handed their first two losses of the year by the No. 5 Oregon Ducks (25-5, Pac-12 2-1) last weekend, No. 4 UCLA (28-2, 4-2) swept No. 24 Oregon State (19-13, 2-4).

“This is where we need to be right now,” senior Brianna Tautalafua said. “The sweep against Oregon State is really uplifting going into the game against Utah next week.”

The action started Saturday, and pitcher Holly Azevedo took the mound for the Bruins. The freshman, now 8-0, went on to put in 6 1/3 innings of work, giving up just three hits, logging three strikeouts and giving up three runs – two of which came in the final two frames.

However, by the time those two final innings arrived, the Bruins were up 5-1, and though they would not score again, it was enough to secure the 5-3 win.

Five Bruins logged seven hits Saturday night, with redshirt freshman Aaliyah Jordan accounting for two and driving in three runs, two of which came on a base-clearing double in the fifth inning.

Jordan has been leading the Bruins offensively all year, batting nearly .500 and slugging almost .880. She tallied seven of the Bruins’ 15 runs over the weekend.

“(Jordan) is strong and has a calm presence in the box,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “She has been our key Bruin that comes through when we have runners in scoring position with not just one but two RBIs at a time.”

Jordan isn’t the only Bruin to contribute to the offense. In Sunday’s game, freshmen Briana Perez and Kinsley Washington and redshirt sophomore Rachel Garcia combined for the Bruins’ three RBIs.

“From top to bottom … we get it done,” Perez said of the Bruins’ offensive production. “It’s definitely not just one person carrying the team.”

Garcia, who was pitching for UCLA, went five innings and gave up one earned run, one unearned run and three hits. She struck out six before being replaced by senior pitcher Selina Ta’amilo, who closed out the game.

UCLA took their second match against Oregon State 3-2.

Oregon State was held to six total hits in their first two matches with UCLA, but on Monday they put up a total of eight hits and five runs on Ta’amilo, who was on the mound for the whole of the game.

Jordan was again an integral part of the Bruins’ seven-run performance Monday, logging four of UCLA’s seven RBIs in the game. The other offense was generated by Garcia who tacked on another two runs, and the final run of the game came on a throwing error by Oregon State.

The Beavers matched their offensive output from the first two games of the weekend Monday, tallying runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings. But just as it was on Saturday, it was too little too late for the Beavers, and they eventually fell to UCLA 7-5.

Despite the sweep of the Beavers, Perez said the Bruins did not have their best foot forward over the weekend.

“We as a team know we didn’t have our best out there in every game,” Perez said. “We need to be better with timely hits and clean it up a little bit in the infield and outfield.”

Inouye-Perez echoed Perez when talking about the Bruins’ play late in Monday’s game.

“We’re giving up too many free passes – too many walks and wild pitches,” Inouye-Perez said. “These are things that are giving the opponent an opportunity to compete with us and I want us to tighten up.”

Yekikian joined the Bruin as a junior transfer in 2016 and contributed until he graduated in 2018. He was an assistant Sports editor for the 2017-2018 academic year and spent time on the softball, men's soccer, women's volleyball, track and field, cross country and rowing beats.

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