Softball sweeps Cal State Fullerton doubleheader with come-from-behind wins
Redshirt freshman utility Taylor Edwards delivered a go-ahead bases-loaded double to secure No. 1 UCLA softball’s win in the second leg of its doubleheader Saturday. Edwards finished the second game with two hits and two RBIs. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)
|No. 1 UCLA||6|
|Cal State Fullerton||2|
|No. 1 UCLA||10|
|Cal State Fullerton||4|
By Cassidy Hunt
Feb. 21, 2021 10:20 a.m.
The Bruins kicked off their first multigame weekend of the season in dramatic fashion.
No. 1 UCLA softball (3-0) picked up a pair of come-from-behind victories against Cal State Fullerton (4-6) in Fullerton on Saturday, with a 6-2 win in game one and a 10-4 victory in game two. The Bruins didn’t pull ahead in the second match until a bases-loaded double by redshirt freshman utility Taylor Edwards with two strikes and two outs at the top of the seventh inning secured UCLA’s third win of the season.
“Before the games started, I told the team that I hope we get tested,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “I can’t wait to see how we respond to those situations. We saw that we can be down to one pitch, one out, and anything can happen.”
In the first contest, redshirt sophomore pitcher Megan Faraimo ended her 32 1/3 scoreless inning streak when Titan infielder Hannah Becerra’s hit landed in the glove of redshirt senior utility Bubba Nickles before bouncing out and over the center field fence.
The home run was immediately echoed by another one, this time courtesy of Fullerton infielder Daisy Munoz, before UCLA could end the first frame.
“The first ball was definitely in my glove,” Nickles said. “Then, when I ran into the fence and I brought my glove back over, the ball was suddenly gone. But, it set up a really good challenge for us.”
The Bruins broke even at the top of the third as redshirt junior infielder Briana Perez scored on a double by redshirt junior outfielder Aaliyah Jordan and Jordan was brought home on a double from senior outfielder Julie Rodriguez.
UCLA scored the go-ahead run in the fourth inning when redshirt sophomore outfielder Kelli Godin recorded her second career triple and was knocked in with a sacrifice fly to right field by Nickles.
The Bruins recorded a run in each of the last five innings of the first game and forced three pitching changes.
“Our energy was really high going into the second game,” Edwards said. “We were all focused and ready to go, go, go.”
Nickles led game two off with the fourth triple of her career before she and Jordan were both sent home by a double courtesy of redshirt junior infielder Kinsley Washington.
Redshirt sophomore utility Anna Vines continued the run streak with a homer in the second inning.
“Being able to carry the energy from the first win over into the second game was huge for us,” Nickles said. “It definitely helped us finish when it got tough.”
UCLA ran into trouble at the bottom of the second frame, when Fullerton outfielder Kelsie Whitmore hit a grand slam over the left field wall to put the Bruins behind 4-3.
Both teams were quiet until the seventh inning, when Edwards, down to her last strike and with the bases loaded, delivered a two-RBI double down the right field line to kick off what would be a seven-run rally for UCLA.
“I knew what I had to do,” Edwards said. “I wanted to get the ball in play and pray for the best. I had trust in everyone and in myself that we could get the job done.”
The Bruins sent a total of 11 batters to the box to keep hope alive in the final inning, including Perez, who recorded a three-run home run before the Titans could stop the bleeding.
Inouye-Perez said her team gained more from the challenge of coming from behind than it would have with two blowouts.
“They pulled together as a group,” Inouye-Perez said. “Our goal was never to score once and tie the game, it was always to score many and to have quality at-bats. We don’t learn a lot in early runaway games, so this was a great experience for us.”
UCLA is scheduled to meet Loyola Marymount at home for another doubleheader on Sunday.