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Softball to face Oregon and Utah in nonconference matchups on the road

Redshirt sophomore pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo will take the ball in No. 1 UCLA softball’s first matchups against Pac-12 opponents this season. The last game Faraimo pitched was her perfect game Wednesday. (Sabrina Wu/Daily Bruin)

Softball


No. 8 Oregon
Sunday, 2 p.m.

Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium
ASU Live Stream
No. 8 Oregon
Monday, 10 a.m.

Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium
ASU Live Stream
Utah
Monday, 1 p.m.

Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium
ASU Live Stream

By Coral Smith

Feb. 28, 2021 10:34 a.m.

The Bruins will travel to face conference opponents for the first time this season.

No. 1 UCLA softball (6-0) will travel to the campus of Arizona State to face two Pac-12 opponents in nonconference matchups. The Bruins will face off with No. 8 Oregon (7-0) on Sunday and Monday, the latter of which will be followed by a game against Utah (9-2) in the afternoon.

While official Pac-12 play will not start for another two weeks, multiple schools agreed to schedule each other as nonconference opponents to increase the difficulty of their schedules, according to coach Kelly Inouye-Perez.

“Every game we love to play, but it’s always nice to play better opponents,” Inouye-Perez said. “We believe it’s the best conference in the country and it’s clearly been the best conference in the history of our sport, so yeah, we have great respect for every Pac-12 opponent.”

Oregon will be UCLA’s first ranked opponent of the season, something redshirt sophomore pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo said the Bruins work to ignore.

“Our team philosophy is that our biggest competition is ourselves,” Faraimo said. “So as long as we stay focused on our game, it doesn’t really matter who’s on the visitor’s side.”

Like UCLA, Oregon has not lost a game yet this season, but the Ducks’ game with the Bruins will also mark their first ranked matchup. When the two teams last faced off in 2019, UCLA won two of three, but Oregon won the first game of the series 4-3 to hand the Bruins only their second loss of the season up to that point.

Then-sophomore Jordan Dail was the winning pitcher for the Ducks in the upset, striking out 12 as she pitched all seven innings. Dail and her fellow Oregon pitchers enter the weekend having given up seven runs over seven games and have held opponents to a .125 batting average.

The Ducks also have four regular starters with batting averages above .300 and collected four mercy-rule victories in the first two weeks of the season.

While UCLA’s other opponent, Utah, is not ranked, it did receive votes in the latest NCAA poll and is riding a three-game winning streak in which the Utes averaged over 11 runs per game.

Inouye-Perez said despite the challenges that facing both teams will present, she is confident that the Bruins’ own offensive strength will help them prevail.

“The good news is I feel like we’re going to be very offensive this year,” Inouye-Perez said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to be perfect, but I believe we’re going to have the ability to make adjustments around a ball game and get stronger through the game.”

This weekend will also mark the first time this season that the Bruins will leave the state of California for games. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team will be taking a bus to Tempe instead of flying, a situation that freshman outfielder Lauryn Carter said would give her time to bond with the team.

“I’m actually really excited for the bus ride. I haven’t really been on a longer one with the team yet because of (COVID-19). Just being around the girls is a super supportive and good environment, so I know the bus ride will be quicker than ever,” Carter said.

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Coral Smith | Sports senior staff
Smith is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the gymnastics and softball beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor for the softball, gymnastics, women's volleyball, swim & dive and rowing beats. Smith was previously a staff writer on the softball, women's volleyball, rowing and swim & dive beats.
Smith is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the gymnastics and softball beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor for the softball, gymnastics, women's volleyball, swim & dive and rowing beats. Smith was previously a staff writer on the softball, women's volleyball, rowing and swim & dive beats.
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