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Tracking COVID-19 at UCLA

After 8 canceled games, softball prepares to face No. 3 Oregon

No. 2 UCLA softball hasn’t played since March 21 because of COVID-19 developments but will be back on the diamond this weekend against No. 3 Oregon, a team it has both won and lost against earlier in the year. (David Rimer/Daily Bruin staff)

Softball


No. 3 Oregon
Friday, 5 p.m.

Jane Sanders Stadium
Pac-12 Networks
No. 3 Oregon
Saturday, 1 p.m.

Jane Sanders Stadium
ESPN2
No. 3 Oregon
Saturday, 4 p.m.

Jane Sanders Stadium
Pac-12 Networks
No. 3 Oregon
Sunday, 12 p.m.

Jane Sanders Stadium
Pac-12 Networks

By Coral Smith

April 9, 2021 10:25 a.m.

After a two-week hiatus, the Bruins will return to the diamond for their highest-ranked matchup so far this season.

No. 2 UCLA softball (19-1, 3-0 Pac-12) will travel to Eugene for a four-game series with No. 3 Oregon (26-2, 5-1) starting Friday afternoon. It will be the Bruins’ first game since March 21, after which eight games were canceled because of COVID-19 developments within the program.

“This weekend is very exciting because we know we’re going to be challenged, and this prepares us for later in the season and the postseason,” said redshirt junior infielder Delanie Wisz.

During the break, the team was limited in the workouts the players could participate in, allowing only small groups of players to come to the field for basic conditioning.

Despite having to abruptly stop team activities in the middle of the season, coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said the fundamentals the team worked on during the offseason and early parts of the campaign will serve the players well as they get back into the mindset of conference play.

“Of course when you take some time off you’ve got to get back to the basics, but we talk about having a strong foundation, and through fall, January, February and March, (the players) put a lot of work in,” Inouye-Perez said. “So we’re good, we’re in shape, we had some good practices the last couple days and we’re ready to get out and get after another Pac-12 weekend.”

UCLA will resume play with a matchup against a top-three opponent that currently sits right behind the Bruins in the standings. Oregon has only two losses so far this season, one at the hands of UCLA and the other by Oregon State last week. The Ducks were outscored 17-4 in those two defeats, but have averaged a margin of victory of over five runs in their other 26 games.

Oregon is the only top-10 team UCLA has faced so far this season as the Bruins split a pair of games with the Ducks during nonconference play a month ago. UCLA lost the first of the two games 3-1 as Oregon pitcher Brooke Yanez struck out 10 in a complete game, but the Bruins would come back to win 9-3 the next day.

The Oregon pitchers have a combined 1.81 ERA, led by Yanez’s 1.34 ERA and 13-0 record. Combined, the Ducks have the second-most strikeouts in the conference with 247, and no pitcher on the staff has an ERA above 2.40.

Redshirt junior infielder Kinsley Washington said while Oregon’s pitching staff is formidable, getting experience batting against it in these earlier games has allowed UCLA to prepare to make the offensive adjustments it will need to succeed this weekend.

“We definitely wanted to challenge ourselves and definitely test the waters to see where our team was at in preseason,” Washington said. “That’s going to help us go into this weekend, because we’re able to make adjustments that weren’t made in the prior games, and just ultimately stick together and come out on top this weekend.”

First pitch from Jane Sanders Stadium on Friday is at 5 p.m.

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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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