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UCLA softball secures 14-0 mercy-rule victory over San Jose State

Redshirt junior infielder Kinsley Washington went 3-for-3 with two runs and four RBIs in No. 4 UCLA softball’s mercy-rule victory Sunday. Washington also hit her first home run of the season in the win. (Jefferson Alade/Daily Bruin)

Softball


San Jose State0
No. 4 UCLA14

By Coral Smith

March 7, 2021 8:43 p.m.

This post was updated March 7 at 11:09 p.m.

The Bruins leaned on their offense to record the win.

No. 4 UCLA softball (10-1) took down San Jose State (3-8) in five innings Sunday afternoon with a 14-0 mercy-rule victory. Half of the Bruins’ runs were scored in the bottom of the fourth inning, when 10 players came up to bat.

The first two runs of the innings were scored on a double from redshirt junior outfielder Aaliyah Jordan, bringing in two players who had gotten on base with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Two batters later, redshirt freshman utility Maya Brady extended the lead to 12-0 with a three-run home run to right field.

UCLA capped off its seven-run rally with another home run from redshirt junior infielder Kinsley Washington, a two-run shot to go along with her double, single and stolen base from earlier innings.

Three different Bruins stole bases in Sunday’s contest, and this aggressive base running was something Washington said UCLA had put an emphasis on in order to get the most out of its at-bats.

“I think it’s my responsibility as a base runner to not have a girl on our team give up her at-bat for a sac bunt,” Washington said. “If I can put myself in a position to get in scoring position without her having to sacrifice a strike or the whole at-bat, I think I did my part.”

The Bruins opened the scoring with a run in the first inning, the ninth time this season UCLA has scored in the opening frame. Redshirt junior infielder Briana Perez singled on a bunt, stole second and scored on a single up the middle from Jordan.

The Bruins scored four more runs in the second inning and two more in the third, including a towering home run from Perez that cleared the right-field wall in the second inning.

Freshman infielder Thessa Malau’ulu hit a double to the left-center wall in each of the two innings, driving in a run and coming in to score on the next play both times. It was Malau’ulu’s first multi-hit game and the first extra-base hits of her UCLA career.

“We had talked a lot about what our approaches were going to be going up to the plate, and we had said, ‘A little bit slower pitching today, so we’re going to take the ball opposite field,'” Malau’ulu said. “In the box I was thinking, ‘Anything I get I’m going to try and drive it to the opposite side of the field, not pull it.'”

Redshirt senior pitcher/first baseman Rachel Garcia replaced redshirt freshman pitcher/utility Lexi Sosa in the third inning for her first appearance since Feb. 20, when she was set to start but left the game because of an injury without throwing a pitch.

The 2019 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year struck out eight of the nine batters she faced in her return, not allowing a base runner in the win.

“The sound of the ball popping in the glove with (Garcia pitching) is a great sound, she’s got her velocities up, she’s healthy,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “We did a great job in the training room to get her back and make sure she’s 100%, so when she did come back, she could go all out.”

UCLA had 13 hits total in the victory, as four different players collected multiple hits. Washington said the Bruins were happy with the variety of hits the team collected, saying having a mix between slugging and playing small ball helps keep the defense guessing.

“It’s very difficult for the defense to play someone who can hit it in front of you or hit it over you,” Washington said. “That’s what I’m thinking when I’m on defense, so (I’m) trying to do the same kind of mind games when I’m on offense.”

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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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