Softball advances winning streak with 10-0 annihilation of Utah, completing sweep
Sophomore pitcher Holly Azevedo earned her seventh complete game of the season in UCLA softball’s mercy-rule victory over Utah on Sunday. Azevedo now has a record of 10-0 in the circle for the Bruins this season. (Ashley Kenney/Daily Bruin)
By Marcus Veal
April 29, 2019 1:13 am
Make it eight wins in a row for the Bruins.
No. 2 UCLA softball (43-2, 17-1 Pac-12) secured a 10-0 mercy-rule win over Utah (15-32, 4-14) on Sunday for the fifth sweep in its sixth Pac-12 series.
“It was a great weekend,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “What I’m most proud of is how our pitchers got themselves out of jams. Throughout the weekend, our pitchers had to pitch out of tough situations, and that’s a big part of how you win games.”
In the second inning, sophomore pitcher Holly Azevedo saw herself in a jam after a hit-by-pitch and a double put runners on second and third with one out. She was able to pitch out of it after a pop-up to third and a strikeout ended the inning.
Azevedo earned her seventh complete game of the season. She started her outing with six straight first-pitch strikes while striking out three and only giving up four hits in her five innings of work.
“It was really a team effort today,” Azevedo said. “I felt good out there and had all of my pitches working, but I knew my team had my back, so I just did my job and let the defense make plays.”
In Friday’s game, the Bruins did not score until the sixth inning, but on Sunday, they jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two.
A bunt by sophomore infielder Briana Perez and walks by junior utility Bubba Nickles and redshirt junior first baseman Rachel Garcia in the first inning loaded the bases for redshirt sophomore outfielder Aaliyah Jordan.
After swinging at the first two pitches, Jordan brought the count back even at 2-2 before ripping a single past the first baseman to bring in two runs. Sophomore infielder Malia Quarles put UCLA up four after knocking in two more with a single back up the middle.
The Bruins piled on two more in the next inning after Jordan and Quarles each picked up RBI singles.
In the last two games of the series, Quarles went 4-for-6 with five RBIs.
“I’ve been seeing the ball well and just focusing on the little things in practice this week and it carried over into the games this weekend,” Quarles said. “I always try and stay focused no matter if I’m starting or coming off the bench.”
In the fifth, sophomore utility Kinsley Washington and freshman utility Kelli Godin each singled to bring up the top of the order. After Nickles popped out to the shortstop, Perez gave UCLA its 17th mercy-rule victory of the year by launching a home run into the trees in right field – her fifth of the year.
Sunday’s win marks the Bruins’ 17th shutout of the season and their eighth in conference play.
“I believe the best is yet to come,” Inouye-Perez said. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant, but I truly believe that because we’ve had different people in different positions and have had different ways of winning games. Our goal is to be the best versions of ourselves at the end and I believe we are headed in that direction.”