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Softball lacked typical dominance in defeat over Cal State Fullerton

Senior second baseman Kylee Perez lead the team with three hits Tuesday night. The senior scored twice in a game where the Bruins logged 11 hits, but left a total of 15 runners on base. (Liz Ketcham/Daily Bruin)

By Nicholas Yekikian

May 2, 2018 12:11 a.m.

The Bruins were not at their sharpest Tuesday night, and by the end of the game had stranded 15 runners on base.

No. 1 UCLA softball (45-3, 15-3 Pac-12) beat the unranked Cal State Fullerton (29-21, 14-1 Big West) 5-3, but had plenty of opportunities to widen that 2-run gap.

“We’ve done an outstanding job of (getting timely hits) all year, but the fact that we didn’t do that tonight is concerning,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “This is a team we could face in the postseason.”

UCLA struggled to hit pitcher Sophie Frost’s changeup early on in the game, and left 11 runners on base by the fifth inning.

“I trust my team, I know they’re great hitters,” said senior pitcher Selina Ta’amilo. “Obviously we didn’t get timely hits, but that doesn’t really bother me.”

Ta’amilo got the start for the Bruins and pitched three innings, giving up two hits and just 1 earned run, all the while not getting the run support she was used to.

The Bruins average 7.93 runs per game against nonconference opponents, but tallied just five Tuesday. Two of those 5 runs were the result of a fielding error by the Titan’s third-baseman Emily Randall in the fourth inning.

UCLA scored 3 more to eek out the win against a Titans team that held the Bruins to fewer runs than a majority of their conference opponents this year.

“Fullerton’s just a really good club,” said senior second baseman Kylee Perez. “They’re a team that we always have really good games against … tonight they definitely brought their A-game.”

The Tuesday night game was one of just two the Bruins had on their schedule this year, and the last nonconference game UCLA will play in the regular season.

Inouye-Perez said she was happy with the way her team was able to come away with a win despite the oddity in their schedule.

“Coming off of a full weekend, it’s always difficult,” Inouye-Perez said. “Tonight wasn’t our best defensive game. … We put them in positions to score.”

One such occasion when the Bruins’ defense let them down was in the bottom half of the seventh inning. A dropped third strike allowed the Titans’ right fielder Brooke Clemetson to take first base with just one out. Clemetson would eventually come around to score off of a single by left fielder Sammie Vandiver, making the score 5-3.

It was all Fullerton would be able to muster, however. Redshirt sophomore Rachel Garcia would finish off the Titans with two more strikeouts, sealing the tight win.

UCLA finished the season undefeated against nonconference teams. The Bruins will head to Berkeley this weekend for their last set of road games in 2018.

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Nicholas Yekikian | Alumnus
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.
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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