Softball’s Megan Faraimo notches 2nd solo perfect game of season in home tourney
Redshirt junior pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo throws a pitch against Pennsylvania on Thursday. Faraimo struck out the side for the third solo perfect game of her career in No. 5 UCLA softball’s triumph over CSU Bakersfield on Friday. (Bryan Palmero/Daily Bruin senior staff)
|No. 5 UCLA||14|
|No. 5 UCLA||8|
March 12, 2022 11:26 a.m.
Less than 24 hours removed from the third combined perfect game in program history, Megan Faraimo and the Bruins were perfect once more.
On Thursday, the redshirt junior pitcher/first baseman and graduate student pitcher Lauren Shaw combined to blank Pennsylvania.
On Friday, Faraimo did it herself – and the ball never entered play.
No. 5 UCLA softball (20-3) continued its double-digit winning streak, defeating CSU Bakersfield (2-8) in a 14-0 mercy-rule win before downing Fresno State (4-17) by a score of 8-2 for its 12th and 13th consecutive victories. The blue and gold beat the Roadrunners in historic fashion as Faraimo struck out all 15 batters she faced en route to the Bruins’ second perfect game in as many days.
“I’ve been playing the game a long time,” coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “I’ve never seen that happen. I’ve seen perfect games, and I’ve seen a lot of strikeouts, but I’ve never seen 15 batters and 15 strikeouts in a perfect game. Never seen that.”
Faraimo started Friday afternoon’s game the same way she finished Thursday night’s outing – striking out the side. Needing only 10 pitches to fan three Roadrunner batters in the contest’s opening frame, the redshirt junior ended her day throwing 59 pitches, with 52 being strikes.
“I wanted to pound the zone,” Faraimo said. “I told (redshirt senior infielder Delanie Wisz) that, so we’re just working kind of as a battery. She was communicating with me throughout the whole game, telling me how my pitches are moving and how they could be better.”
In the bottom half of the opening inning, UCLA put up nine runs, extending its nine-game streak of being the first team on the scoreboard. The Bruins manufactured seven total walks with the first four batters all reaching base from walks.
Redshirt sophomore utility Maya Brady and freshman utility Savannah Pola each recorded an RBI in the first frame while redshirt senior infielder Briana Perez brought three runners in with a bases-clearing double.
UCLA added to its lead in the fourth courtesy of redshirt sophomore utility Seneca Curo’s two-RBI single and a three-run home run from freshman catcher Jayla Castro – the first of her career.
Three outs away from her second solo perfect game in the span of eight days, Faraimo caught one Roadrunner looking and struck two out swinging to complete the feat.
“By the third inning, I realized that I was throwing a perfect game,” Faraimo said. “Usually, I think, ‘Dang, I just jinxed myself.’ But I tried to make it a goal for myself, and it ended up working out.”
In the nightcap, the Bruins faced the Bulldogs, who were victim to Faraimo’s first perfect game of the season March 3.
With redshirt senior Holly Azevedo in the circle this time around, UCLA provided instant run support for its pitcher. Perez and Wisz each left the park with solo home runs in their first at-bats, matching each other with five on the season.
Perez, who went 3-for-4 against Fresno State, said anticipating off-speed pitches was key to her success at the plate.
“We knew the off-speed was going to be a factor,” Perez said. “So try to pick one or the other, fast or off-speed. I think we did a pretty good job, but we could be a little better, so we’ll make some adjustments.”
Two runs were added in the second inning off the bats of Perez and Wisz again, who each drove in a runner with a single to go along with a Bulldog error that allowed two more Bruins to touch home plate.
Shaw came in relief of Azevedo in the sixth inning and finished the game for UCLA, limiting Fresno State to one hit in the process.
UCLA will face the same opponents Saturday but in reverse order, taking on Fresno State first at 2 p.m.
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