Everyone in the Bruins’ lineup got on base – in just the first inning.
“A big part of the success of UCLA softball is strength throughout a lineup, and you got to see that this weekend,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez.
No. 4 UCLA softball (6-0) capped off its weekend at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament on Sunday, defeating Pittsburgh (2-3) and San Diego (2-2) in a doubleheader by scores of 17-0 and 9-1, respectively.
A total of 16 batters stepped to the plate for the Bruins in the first inning against the Panthers. All but one UCLA starter – sophomore outfielder Kelli Godin – had at least one hit in the game.
In the Bruins’ previous meeting against the Panthers on Saturday, UCLA tallied only three hits against Pittsburgh pitcher Becca Miller en route to its 4-0 victory. On Sunday, the Bruins surpassed that hit total in 2/3 of an inning and more than tripled that run total in another 1/3 of an inning.
UCLA’s first run came six pitches into the game, as junior utility Kinsley Washington singled, stole second base and came around to score. Later in the first inning, freshman catcher Alyssa Garcia forced the Panthers to work a 12-pitch at-bat that ended in a two-run single.
Junior infielder Briana Perez drove in two more runs with a single to center field of her own. Freshman infielder Maya Brady drew a walk to bring home Washington while Perez rushed behind her to slide into home plate at the heels of Washington, bringing the Bruins’ lead to 9-0 and forcing Panthers’ coach Jodi Hermanek to signal to her bullpen to bring in Miller in relief.
Inouye-Perez said she had sat down with the team and addressed UCLA’s hitting woes against Miller’s breaking ball before Sunday’s first pitch.
“They threw effectively the first time, and we talked about how we weren’t 100% prepared for that offspeed,” Inouye-Perez said. “We talked about it ahead of time and had an approach … executed it, and as you got to see we did a better job of moving runners.”
The first four batters Miller faced in her relief appearance in the first inning resulted in a hit-by-pitch, two walks and a grand slam from freshman infielder Seneca Curo, capping the 13-run frame.
“It’s been crazy (starting this season),” Curo said. “I’ve never played in front of this big of a crowd. … I’m having so much fun feeding off everyone’s energy.”
Brady added to the lead in the third inning when she homered for the fourth time in her first five games of her UCLA career. Freshman catcher Sara Rusconi Vicinanza and sophomore infielder Anna Vines also went deep in the fourth inning for the first time in each of their careers.
“We prepared really well for (Miller) this game in our batting practice,” Brady said. “So I think that contributed a lot to our success this game.”
In the circle, junior pitcher Holly Azevedo and freshman pitcher Lexi Sosa combined for five shutout innings with three hits and six strikeouts.
Against San Diego, after a two-run UCLA first inning, sophomore pitcher Megan Faraimo allowed her first run of the season on a hanging breaking ball to catcher Madison Casiano that went for a double. Faraimo bounced back in the top of the third by striking out the side and, in the bottom of the inning, providing her own run support with her first collegiate hit and RBI.
However, Faraimo ran into trouble again in the fourth, giving up back-to-back hits and taking the next hitter into a full count with only one out. But Faraimo struck out the batter and induced a fly out from the Toreros to get out of the jam.
“A couple people got some hits, and (Faraimo) came back,” Inouye-Perez said. “That’s championship softball. … Things are going to happen, but it’s what you do next that is your defining moment.”