UCLA softball secures victory against Cal State Fullerton in midweek matchup
Redshirt junior pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo throws a pitch. Faraimo was called up to start No. 3 UCLA softball’s midweek matchup against Cal State Fullerton moments before the game. (Antonio Martinez/Daily Bruin staff)
|Cal State Fullerton
|No. 3 UCLA
By Jordan Coyle
April 28, 2022 8:20 p.m.
While the lead didn’t change hands, one thing did differ at the beginning of the game – the starting lineup.
With her team making a last-minute pitching change, redshirt junior pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo had to quickly prepare to start the game against the Titans. Before the switch, redshirt senior pitcher Holly Azevedo had been announced to take the circle for the Bruins.
Despite the swift turnaround, Faraimo said she felt prepared.
“We actually sort of prepare for those moments – we call it ‘911 Relief,’” Faraimo said. “It’s when you just get ready as fast as you can and go and do your best to compete, so I was kind of ready.”
No. 3 UCLA softball (37-5, 13-2 Pac-12) secured a 13-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton (31-16, 15-3 Big West) in five innings Wednesday night for its final midweek contest of the season. The win guarantees that the Bruins will finish the regular season with a 24-3 record against nonconference opponents.
In a game that saw four Bruins drive in multiple runs, it was redshirt senior infielder Kinsley Washington who got the hitting started by slapping a chopper up the middle for a single.
Washington said after not slapping – which is when a hitter uses a short, chopping motion to strike the ball to a certain spot on the infield – for most of the season, she hopes to reintroduce it into her game over the next few weeks.
“I haven’t slapped in a minute,” Washington said. “It’s been like 30 games since I’ve done my slapping game, but I really want to bring it back and work on it for the postseason.”
UCLA tacked its first runs on the board in the same frame, using a bases-loaded walk and a two-RBI double drilled to center field by redshirt junior utility Anna Vines to take a 3-0 lead in the first.
The blue and gold continued its offensive production in the following inning with RBIs from Washington and redshirt sophomore utility Maya Brady. When Titan left fielder Kika Ramirez dropped a pop-up looped to the outfield by freshman utility Savannah Pola, Brady capitalized by scoring another run to give her team a 6-0 advantage.
Of the six runs scored by UCLA during the first two frames, five of them came with two outs.
Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said she was impressed by the team’s clutch hitting while also exhibiting plate discipline.
“I was very proud of our ability to not only have timely hitting with two outs but to get people on with patience and with quality at-bats,” Inouye-Perez said. “This team has the ability, when they really lock in and they focus, to be able to execute, and it’s a discipline.”
After Faraimo gave up her second hit of the contest the following inning, graduate student pitcher Lauren Shaw entered the game in relief and retired the first two batters she faced.
In the bottom of the third, the Bruins tacked on another run through a bases-loaded walk of redshirt senior infielder Briana Perez followed by Washington’s second double of the night that brought in two more. Brady clipped the top of the left-field wall for a bases-clearing triple later in the inning before being brought home by a Pola single, the next at-bat to give UCLA a 12-0 lead.
To finish off the Bruins’ night of scoring, Perez hit an RBI single through the right side to give UCLA its lone run in the fourth frame.
Shaw, who gave up no hits and earned her sixth win of the season in her 2.2 inning outing, closed the game with a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
Inouye-Perez said she’s proud of the way the Bruins responded to the challenges presented by a midweek game.
“I had challenged the team because midweeks are tough, and I knew they were going to throw a slower left-handed pitcher – we knew that that’s their MO against us,” Inouye-Perez said. “The object of the game was to get in and not say, ‘Oh, she’s slow,’ but to take balls and be on time.”