No. 3 UCLA softball sweeps No. 12 Oregon to continue undefeated conference play
Graduate student pitcher Lauren Shaw runs along the third base line in No. 3 UCLA softball’s contest against No. 12 Oregon on Friday. Behind Shaw’s season-high 6.1 innings pitched in Sunday’s victory, the Bruins swept the season series over the Ducks and improved to 9-0 in conference play. (Antonio Martinez/Daily Bruin)
|No. 12 Oregon||2|
|No. 3 UCLA||4|
By Jordan Coyle
April 3, 2022 11:12 p.m.
This post was updated April 4 at 2:34 p.m.
The Bruins swept the Ducks for the first time since 2010.
That year, UCLA went on to win a national championship.
No. 3 UCLA softball (31-3, 9-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 12 Oregon (24-8, 4-5) by a score of 4-2 on Sunday to complete its third Pac-12 sweep of the season. The blue and gold’s sweeps of Arizona, Washington and Oregon mark the first time this century that it has swept the three winningest teams in the Pac-12 in terms of conference titles, excluding itself, in the same season.
Graduate student pitcher Lauren Shaw took the circle for the Bruins, throwing a season-high 6.1 innings. Shaw held the Ducks scoreless through the first four innings before giving up a home run in the fifth inning – her sole earned run of the outing.
Redshirt sophomore catcher/first baseman Alyssa Garcia, who was behind the dish for the contest, said she was impressed by Shaw’s performance.
“She hit her spots well today,” Garcia said. “Her change-up was really working (and) her screwball was really working, so I’m glad she could come out today.”
After a quick first frame, a scoreless top of the second was highlighted by a diving grab made by Garcia. The catcher laid herself out to catch a foul ball hit over her head for the second out of the inning.
Shaw said these all-out plays on defense are fun to witness from the circle.
“We’ve seen it throughout the whole season that our defense always comes ready to play and is always aggressive and goes for the big plays,” Shaw said. “I love having my defense behind me because it makes my job easier and makes it more fun.”
The Bruin bats, which failed to score through the first two innings of play, came alive in the third inning.
A single drilled to the outfield by sophomore infielder Thessa Malau’ulu ignited the rally for UCLA. Redshirt senior infielder Briana Perez laid down a bunt to follow and beat out the throw to give the Bruins a second baserunner. Freshman utility Savannah Pola cleared the bases with a three-run blast over the left field fences, giving UCLA a 3-0 lead.
The Bruins tacked on an insurance run the following frame. A double from redshirt junior utility Anna Vines followed by a sacrifice hit from Malau’ulu extended UCLA’s lead to 4-0.
While the Bruins’ offense had finished scoring by the fourth inning, their defense never stopped producing.
In the top of the sixth, Vines dove for a backhand to save the ball from reaching the outfield. Throwing it from her knees, the second baseman got the out at first to end the inning.
Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said defense has been a major focus of the 2022 campaign and the primary reason for UCLA’s success.
“The further you go, the better the pitching is, so it really comes down to the team that can play defense soundly,” Inouye-Perez said. “That’s what we’re focusing on, and I think the reason we’re doing so well is our pitching and our defense.”
The Bruins will look to add to their 24-game winning streak next weekend on the road against Stanford.