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Garcia, Nickles to return to UCLA softball after Olympics postponed

Redshirt senior pitcher/first baseman Rachel Garcia (left) and senior utility Bubba Nickles (right) will play with UCLA softball for the 2021 season, after having sat out in 2020 to prepare for the Olympics in Tokyo.(Daily Bruin file photo)

By Jon Christon

May 7, 2020 3:08 pm

The Bruins are getting back two key players from their 2019 championship run.

UCLA softball will welcome back redshirt senior pitcher/first-baseman Rachel Garcia and senior utility Bubba Nickles for the 2021 season. 

Both players had planned to sit out the entirety of the 2020 season in order to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but after the coronavirus pandemic caused a postponement of the Olympics, the duo is set to rejoin the Bruins for both of their senior seasons. The two players will still represent USA Softball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

In UCLA’s 2019 championship run, Garcia led the Pac-12 with 29 wins and a 1.14 ERA in 202 innings. As a hitter, she sported a .343 batting average to go along with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs. She was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2019 Women’s College World Series after going a perfect 5-0 in Oklahoma City.

Garcia was also named the Honda Cup Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year, USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, NFCA National Pitcher of the Year and Pac-12 Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year.

“I am beyond proud and blessed to be able to compete with my Bruins next season and still represent our great country in Tokyo 2021,” Garcia said in a statement. “Stay safe and stay healthy!”

In her three years as a Bruin, Nickles has hit 38 home runs and 159 RBIs while playing all over the field.

As a junior in 2019, Nickles led the Bruins in both home runs and RBIs with 18 and 72, respectively. She was also second on the Bruins with a .390 batting average and 66 runs scored.

Nickles was named a Softball America First-Team All-American as well as a member of the All-Tournament team at the Women’s College World Series after batting .350 in Oklahoma City.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to be back with the Bruins for the 2021 season,” Nickles said in a statement. “It’s truly an honor to be able to play my last collegiate season, as well as represent USA in the Olympics in the same year. 2021 is going to be a good one!”

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Jon Christon | Assistant Sports editor
Christon is currently an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and softball beats.
Christon is currently an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and softball beats.
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