Softball sweeps Judi Garman Classic with perfect game from Megan Faraimo
Redshirt junior pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo throws a pitch in No. 5 UCLA softball’s matchup with Fresno State on Thursday. Against the Bulldogs, Faraimo threw five scoreless innings en route to the second perfect game of her career. (Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin)
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March 6, 2022 3:43 p.m.
This post was updated March 11 at 2:17 p.m.
Megan Faraimo and the Bruins had a perfect weekend.
In the second contest of a five-game slate, the redshirt junior pitcher/first baseman retired 15 consecutive Bulldog batters and notched 12 strikeouts to record the second perfect game of her career.
Behind Faraimo’s weekend performance, No. 5 UCLA softball (17-3) completed another tournament sweep, winning five straight contests at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California, on Thursday through Saturday. Including Faraimo and redshirt senior pitcher Holly Azevedo, the Bruins’ pitching staff held their opponents to one hit in two games on Thursday and four runs over the entire weekend.
“Outstanding performances, and I couldn’t be more proud because they work so hard,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “I’m not surprised, but it’s also a very big part of our confidence, knowing that our pitchers are performing. It builds confidence for the offense and defense to be able to enjoy watching them compete.”
To begin the classic, Azevedo and relief pitchers redshirt sophomore Lexi Sosa and graduate student Lauren Shaw held Cal Poly to one hit across five innings of action in a 9-0 victory.
Redshirt senior infielder Delanie Wisz paced the team with three RBIs, including a two-run home run – her second of the season. Faraimo also started a seven-run fourth for the Bruins, driving in two runs with a pinch-hit single in her first at-bat of the season to help secure the mercy-rule win.
In the doubleheader against Fresno State, Faraimo got the start in the circle and recorded more hits than she allowed.
The redshirt junior began her perfect outing by striking out the side in the top of the first. The next time she returned to the circle, UCLA sported a five-run lead manufactured by four walks, two singles and three stolen bases. Faraimo continued fanning Bulldogs, recording three strikeouts in the second inning, two in the third and three more in the fourth frame.
While Faraimo added to her strikeout tally, the Bruins added to their lead, scoring seven runs over three innings to extend the advantage to 12-0. With UCLA one out away from a perfect game, sophomore infielder Thessa Malau’ulu made a diving stop and throw across the diamond to keep the record intact.
“I told Thessa that I owe her dinner and dessert because that play was seriously ESPN Top Ten and saved the perfect game,” Faraimo said.
On Friday, Faraimo followed up history with a 10-strikeout complete game performance in a 4-1 UCLA victory over Kansas.
In the nightcap, the blue and gold cruised past Weber State, scoring nine runs, including four in the bottom of the sixth, to clinch the mercy-rule win.
Leading 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth, redshirt junior outfielder Kelli Godin turned a single into an inside-the-park home run off an error from the Wildcat left fielder. Freshman utility Savannah Pola and redshirt sophomore utility Maya Brady each drove in a run before redshirt senior infielder Briana Perez ended the contest early with an RBI single.
For the final day of the classic, UCLA scored its most runs of the weekend and second most of the season, defeating Texas A&M 14-2 in five innings.
Four Bruins went yard against the Aggies, including Pola, who recorded a career-high six RBIs on Saturday. The freshman started the scoring with a two-RBI double in the first inning, and in the following frame, with the bases loaded, recorded another bases-clearing double.
“She’s a pure hitter,” Inouye-Perez said. “She can hit any pitch and can hit to any field. She can pull a ball, go opposite field but she can definitely get the barrel on the ball. She doesn’t play like a freshman, she plays big. What makes Pola so legit is not that she can hit, but she can also hit in critical situations.”
Pola capped off her night with a solo home run to center field in the fourth frame. Wisz followed suit, hammering her second home run of the game before Brady completed the back-to-back-to-back with her sixth long ball of the year.
Pola – who hit 7-for-14 with nine RBIs over the five games – said she is getting more comfortable hitting in the number three spot of the lineup.
“It’s a big adjustment from where I was in the back of the lineup, but it’s been exciting to be the third batter,” Pola said. “I’m just grateful to be doing whatever I can to help my team be successful.”
Including the Judi Garman Classic over the weekend, UCLA has won 10 straight games, sweeping two tournaments over the last two weeks. The Bruins will close out their stretch of consecutive five-game slates to start the season at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament at Easton Stadium on Thursday.
“(The pitchers) work really hard to be able to put ourselves in that position so I’m proud of us,” Faraimo said. “It’d be interesting to see if we could go a weekend without giving up any runs. That would be a good challenge for us.”
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