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Softball adjusts to Huskies’ lineup change, wins final matchup of series

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Megan Faraimo went the distance for the fifth time this season, pitching a full seven innings while striking out six in No. 2 UCLA softball’s win on Sunday. (Kaiya Pomeroy-Tso/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Softball


No. 4 Washington2
No. 2 UCLA4

By Coral Smith

April 25, 2021 11:36 p.m.

Despite a last-minute pitching change, the Bruins used a trio of long balls to take down the Huskies.

No. 2 UCLA softball (28-3, 10-2 Pac-12) was supposed to face Gabbie Plain for the third time in as many days to wrap up its series against No. 4 Washington (35-9, 13-4) on Sunday afternoon, but when the Huskies’ star pitcher was scratched from the lineup, the Bruins capitalized to defeat them 4-2 and take the series win.

Plain had already recorded one win and one loss against UCLA on the weekend and was announced as Washington’s starter ahead of Sunday’s contest. But when the Huskies’ defense came onto the field for the bottom of the first inning, it was Kelley Lynch who was in the circle.

“We know that good talent is flexible, knowing that we set a game plan, and that could change,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “And today was a challenge. They threw three different pitchers at us who we weren’t preparing for, and that’s not always an easy task to make those adjustments.”

Lynch pitched just the first inning, as UCLA collected three runs in the frame. After redshirt junior outfielder Aaliyah Jordan walked, redshirt senior pitcher/first baseman Rachel Garcia and redshirt junior infielder Delanie Wisz hit back-to-back home runs to give the Bruins an early lead they would not relinquish.

“We assumed (Plain) was pitching because they announced her, so when we saw (Lynch) we just went with the flow and didn’t think too much about it,” Wisz said. “We knew she was similar to how the other pitchers on their team throw, so we came out swinging and said, ‘We have nothing to lose at this point.'”

UCLA added one more run in the bottom of the third inning when redshirt junior infielder Briana Perez waited on a changeup and hit the third Bruin home run of the afternoon. It was also Perez’s team-leading ninth home run of the season.

“(Perez) set a goal this year to be able to hit 10 home runs, it’s been something she’s been striving for. … It was kind of thrown out as a lofty goal, but it’s been a very big reality,” Inouye-Perez said. “She has power. We know it’s there. We’ve worked on her approach and her swing, and she’s a strong athlete, so it’s not surprising.”

Washington had multiple opportunities to close the gap throughout the game, scoring in the third and seventh innings on a home run and RBI single from right fielder Sarah Willis. But despite putting two runners on in the fourth and the sixth innings, UCLA redshirt sophomore pitcher Megan Faraimo was able to get out of both jams.

Faraimo was visibly fired up throughout the game at key points, such as when she struck out Lynch to end the fourth inning. The redshirt sophomore said her passion during games used to be something she wanted to contain, but now she embraces the energy it gives her.

“Those situations where the pressure is on are the most fun to be playing in the game, so that’s why I get a little fired up,” Faraimo said. “I used to try to control it, but I think I just perform better if I just compete 100%.”

The Bruins finished the series with three wins in four games against the Huskies, outscoring Washington 20-11. Wisz said being able to win against a top-five team like the Huskies bodes well for the Bruins’ chances to succeed once they reach the postseason and play opponents of a similar caliber.

“It’s very important because we know that we might see them in the postseason,” Wisz said. “It gives us confidence going into the rest of Pac-12s and even the postseason, so it’s a huge win for us.”

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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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