UCLA softball achieves shutout victory against Michigan
Junior infielder Delanie Wisz’s RBI double to deep center field in the fourth inning gave No. 1 UCLA softball a 2-0 lead in its game versus No. 16 Michigan Thursday night. The Bruins preserved the lead and claimed the shutout victory.(Christine Kao/Daily Bruin)
|No. 16 Michigan||0|
|No. 1 UCLA||2|
By Jon Christon
March 6, 2020 1:52 a.m.
On the back of strong pitching performances from both teams, the Bruin offense did enough to pull out a victory.
No. 1 UCLA (21-1) softball defeated No. 16 Michigan (14-7) by a final margin of 2-0 in a game that featured eight combined hits from both teams. The win avenges last year’s 3-1 loss to the Wolverines and evens the series between the two teams in their last six matchups.
“It’s always a big win against Michigan because we have a competitive game every time we play them,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “Bottom line, it builds confidence and we get to practice what we’re hoping to see in postseason.”
Each team cycled through the lineup without notching a baserunner in the first three innings, as both starting pitchers started the game scoreless while totaling four strikeouts each.
A bunt single by junior infielder Briana Perez in the bottom of the fourth marked the first hit of the game for UCLA. Perez stole second to get into scoring position, and freshman outfielder Maya Brady drove her home with a single to right field for the first run of the game.
Junior infielder Delanie Wisz’s double to deep center in the next at-bat allowed Brady to score from first, which extended the Bruin lead to 2-0, and UCLA was able to hold onto the lead for the rest of the game.
“We were trying to take it one pitch at a time,” Wisz said. “I was just thinking that she has to come to me with one strike, at least one. And if I got one, then I was gonna hit it because my last at bat I had just missed, so I knew she had to come again.”
Nearly a year after losing to the Wolverines’ starting pitcher Meghan Beaubien last season, the Bruins chased the Michigan sophomore after just 3 2/3 innings Thursday. Beaubien led the Big 10 with a 1.41 ERA coming into the game.
In the matchup between the two teams last season, Beaubien went a full seven innings while giving up just one run.
Perez – one of only two current Bruins to get a hit against Beaubien in last year’s game – said it’s a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to rematches.
“We have film on (Beaubien) and everything, but every game is a new game, so it goes both ways,” Perez said. “It’s helpful but it’s not.”
UCLA sophomore pitcher Megan Faraimo, who was on the losing end of the matchup against Beaubien last season, avenged the loss and picked up her 12th win of the season while pitching a complete game shutout for the 5th time this year.
Michigan shortstop and leadoff hitter Julia Jimenez began the hitting in the game with a single to open the fourth inning, but Faraimo was able to pitch around the runner by striking out the next three batters to retire the side. Faraimo allowed just three more baserunners the rest of the night.
With runners on first and second and nobody out in the top of the seventh, Faraimo struck out the side once again to finish the game. Faraimo’s 11 punchouts marked the eighth game this season where she has reached double-digit strikeouts.
“A couple people got on base (in the seventh) inning, but they weren’t hard hit balls,” Inouye-Perez said. “One thing she is trying to do is really not let the opponent hit the ball hard, and she did that. (Faraimo) stepped up and shut them down.”
UCLA will continue in the UCLA/Long Beach State Invitational with a matchup against No. 22 UCF on Friday.