UCLA softball emerges undefeated after shutout opening week
Redshirt senior outfielder Aaliyah Jordan assumes her batting stance in No. 3 UCLA softball’s season-opener Thursday. Jordan finished the Bruins’ season-opening homestand with six RBIs. (Joseph Jimenez/Daily Bruin)
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Feb. 12, 2022 11:58 a.m.
The Bruins held their opponents scoreless over the opening week homestand.
No. 3 UCLA softball (3-0) swept Friday’s doubleheader at Easton Stadium, blanking UC San Diego (1-1) by a score of 5-0 in seven innings before downing Nevada (0-2) 12-0 in a mercy-rule triumph. The wins mark 17 straight innings of shutout ball tossed by Bruin pitchers in 2022 and the second time in three seasons UCLA has begun with three shutouts.
Following the 11-hit first-inning outburst Thursday, the Bruins didn’t need a hit to be first on the board against the Tritons.
After leadoff hitter Kelli Godin reached base on a walk in the opening inning, the redshirt junior outfielder then stole second before advancing to third on a groundout. With two outs, redshirt sophomore utility Maya Brady forced an error from the UCSD second baseman, allowing Godin to touch home plate and give UCLA the lead.
“We wanted to be aggressive in these two games, to not sit and wait and be defensive,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “We were able to manufacture runs and continue to put pressure on the defense. Put people in scoring positions. So even if we didn’t pull together a great hit we were able to manufacture runs.”
In the top of the third, redshirt junior pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo was hit by a line drive from third baseman Sophia Real. The infield single stood as the only hit given up by Faraimo in her five innings of action.
UCLA, on the other hand, continued to add added to its advantage in the next frame.
With Bruins at the corners, redshirt senior infielder Kinsley Washington sent both runners home with a double over the Triton left fielder. After just missing clearing the wall in her collegiate debut Thursday, freshman utility Savannah Pola extended the gap to five with her first career home run.
Graduate student pitcher Lauren Shaw came on in relief of Faraimo in the sixth inning. The Iowa transfer navigated out of a bases-loaded situation in her first inning of action with UCLA before recording a 1-2-3 seventh to end the game.
During the nightcap against the Wolf Pack, redshirt senior Aaliyah Jordan started the fireworks. The All-American outfielder launched a solo home run – her first of the season – into right field to get the Bruins in the run column. Jordan also played a role in UCLA’s nine-run second inning by hitting a bases-clearing double.
“In the first game, I was struggling a little bit,” Jordan said. “I was in my head and I talked to Coach and she was saying to stay true to myself. So when I was on deck I tried to remind myself who I am and what I do and so when I got up there it just made it easier.”
Washington capped off the frame with a three-run drive out of the park, her second in as many days.
Although redshirt sophomore pitcher/utility Lexi Sosa started in the circle, an injury in the top of the third forced her out of the game. Shaw took over at the mound and managed through another bases-loaded jam, this time by forcing a line-out double play.
“Those moments are what we live for,” Shaw said. “It’s easy to go in (with) no outs, nobody on base, it’s easy. But it’s that challenge that we live for as athletes. You want to be competitive and you want to have that edge to prove you can do it.”
In her first win as a Bruin, Shaw did not allow a base runner in the last two innings with an assist from Brady in the fifth with two outs erasing the runner at first to close out the doubleheader for UCLA.
“This is my fifth year of softball, but this is my first year in the Bruin uniform and the legacy is real,” Shaw said. “I was trying to add to it, be a part of it. This team is one to be a part of. The energy is awesome, the support is unequivocal.”
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