UCLA softball extends winning streak following game against Stanford
Redshirt senior pitcher/first baseman Rachel Garcia lowered her season ERA to 0.58 in No. 2 UCLA’s win over Stanford. The Bruins have won nine games in a row and maintained their lead at the top of the Pac-12 standings. (David Rimer/Daily Bruin staff)
|No. 2 UCLA||4|
By Coral Smith
May 8, 2021 11:12 a.m.
Despite a handful of missed scoring opportunities, the Bruins’ offense was enough to earn the win.
No. 2 UCLA softball (35-3, 14-2 Pac-12) defeated Stanford (29-15, 8-8) 4-0 in the opener of the Bruins’ final homestand of the regular season. UCLA had 12 hits, with five different players from throughout the lineup recording at least two hits.
“Friday’s game is really about going for it, and leaving it all out there,” said redshirt freshman utility Maya Brady. “Getting a W on Friday is always super important no matter who your opponent is, so I think it sets the tone well for the rest of the series, especially since we came out swinging.”
Stanford’s starting pitcher Alana Vawter was No. 14 in the nation in ERA coming into the matchup, having averaged one run given up per game. But the Bruins collected three runs off of her in the first four innings, knocking her out of the game and sticking her with the loss.
“In any game, it’s important to get to (the pitcher) early,” said redshirt junior outfielder Aaliyah Jordan. “You kind of want get on them early, so you can take the fight out of (the other team).”
Two of those runs came in the second inning as Brady singled to open the frame, moved over to third and scored on a single from redshirt freshmen catcher Alyssa Garcia. A fielder’s choice and another single added a second run for the Bruins before redshirt sophomore outfielder Kelli Godin was caught stealing second to end the inning.
Aggressive baserunning has been a hallmark of UCLA’s season so far, but it was not as successful for the Bruins in Friday’s game, as two players were caught stealing and one was tagged out trying to extend a single into a double.
Jordan opened the bottom of the third inning with a double to the left-field corner, the first of her two hits on the afternoon. But Jordan was thrown out attempting to take third, an out that stung a little bit more after the Bruins loaded the bases later in the inning but were unable to plate any of the runners.
UCLA again loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth and fifth innings but was only able to score one run across both innings.
In total, the Bruins left nine runners on base, but coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said that number should be seen as a sign of the amount of overall offense the team was able to produce, instead of as a mark of missed opportunities.
“It’s just the game, you get runners in scoring position, and there’s times you come through and times you don’t,” Inouye-Perez said. “Even in those situations, the coach’s perspective is there is no failure. We put ourselves in the position (to score), which is a great position to be in, and that’s always what we’re trying to do.”
In contrast to the constant traffic on the basepaths for UCLA, Stanford managed only three hits and no runs against redshirt senior pitcher/first baseman Rachel Garcia. Garcia struck out five in the complete-game shutout, lowering her ERA to 0.58.
The Cardinal’s best opportunity against Garcia came in the top of the seventh when a walk and a single put two runners on with two outs. Garcia was able to end the scoring threat with a swinging strikeout to win the game.
UCLA will be back at Easton Stadium for a double-header against Stanford on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.