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UCLA softball prepares to face off against Utah in 4-game series

Redshirt junior infielder Delanie Wisz is one of three players who have started all 31 games for UCLA softball this season and currently ranks second on the team with 26 RBIs. (Kaiya Pomeroy-Tso/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Softball


Utah
Friday, 4 p.m.

Dumke Family Softball Stadium
Utah Live Stream-3
Utah
Saturday, 1 p.m.

Dumke Family Softball Stadium
Utah Live Stream-3
Utah
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Dumke Family Softball Stadium
Utah Live Stream-3
Utah
Sunday, 11 a.m.

Dumke Family Softball Stadium
Utah Live Stream-3

By Coral Smith

April 30, 2021 12:37 p.m.

Despite facing their lowest-ranked conference opponent, the Bruins are not planning on taking it easy this weekend.

No. 2 UCLA softball (28-3, 10-2 Pac-12) will travel to Utah (19-23, 2-13) for a four-game series starting Friday. This will be the second time the teams have faced off this season, after the Bruins took down the Utes in a nonconference matchup March 1.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo said playing Utah early in the season gives UCLA the chance to see where the team succeeded and struggled against the Utes and adjust accordingly.

“We get to make adjustments a little sooner than we usually would since we do have film on them,” Faraimo said. “But in terms of approach, it’s always us competing against ourselves, so we’ve got to focus on that first.”

UCLA is coming off a series win against then-No. 4 Washington last weekend, in which the conference-leading Bruins took three of four games against the next-best team in the Pac-12. UCLA has dropped only two conference games so far this season, one each to Washington and Oregon, both of whom ranked inside the top five at the time of the matchups.

While Utah is close to .500 overall, it has won just two Pac-12 games – only one of which was against a top-25 opponent. In addition, while the Utes have a +27 run differential against nonconference opponents, in Pac-12 play, they have scored 47 fewer runs than their opponents.

In comparison, UCLA has outscored opponents 153-25 in nonconference games, and 60-17 in Pac-12 contests.

But despite the apparent disparity between UCLA and Utah’s offensive output so far this season, coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said her team is not going into the weekend expecting easy victories.

“It’s the second half of (Pac-12 play), we’ve had a lot of softball, stats are out there, so you might think that Utah is a team you can go in there (and beat),” Inouye-Perez said. “But I would never say someone’s at the top and someone’s at the bottom because we’ve played in the Pac-12, and anybody can beat anybody on any given day.”

The Bruins almost found themselves at the mercy of one such upset in their first game versus the Utes this season. While UCLA ultimately won the game 6-5, it required a four-run rally in the later innings after the team fell behind 5-2.

In order to avoid putting themselves in a similar situation and possibly losing some of the games this weekend, redshirt junior infielder Delanie Wisz said the Bruins know they need to focus on playing their best softball, regardless of the rank of their opponent.

“We just need to focus on how we play our game. If we come out just knowing that we can beat anyone, I think we’ll be OK,” Wisz said. “No matter what opponent is in the other dugout we just try to be consistent and play how UCLA softball plays.”

The first pitch of Friday’s series opener will be at 4 p.m. at Dumke Family Softball Stadium in Salt Lake City.

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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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