UCLA softball defeats LMU, advances to regional championship
Redshirt junior pitcher Megan Faraimo throws a pitch in a game against Loyola Marymount on Saturday. After giving up a home run in the opening inning, Faraimo threw six frames of shutout ball to secure No. 5 seed UCLA softball’s victory. (Joseph Jimenez/Daily Bruin)
|No. 5 seed UCLA||7|
May 21, 2022 4:52 p.m.
This post was updated May 21 at 5:12 p.m.
On an afternoon in which two respective conference pitchers of the year took turns in the circle, runs were hard to come by.
Through five innings, redshirt junior pitcher Megan Faraimo and Loyola Marymount’s Jenna Perez had limited the offenses to one run and four hits each.
In the sixth, the Bruins opened up the scoring.
A five-run sixth inning propelled No. 5 seed UCLA (45-8, 19-5 Pac-12) past LMU (37-16, 13-2 WCC) for a 7-1 victory in its second game of the NCAA Regionals Saturday afternoon. The victory extended the Bruins’ winning streak over the Lions to 10, and the all-time series to 29-1 in the blue and gold’s favor.
To break the tie, UCLA used five hits – all singles – and baserunning to cross the plate five times, all starting with the bottom of the order.
“UCLA softball is at our best when the bottom of the lineup is doing some damage and it brings us back up to the top,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “You can feel that and you got to see that today.”
Even though the Bruins were playing at home, they were stationed in the opposing team’s dugout. With the rare chance to hit first at Easton Stadium, the blue and gold were blanked in the top of the first inning and trailed after the bottom half.
Shortstop Megan Dedrcik started the scoring by clearing the left field wall with a solo shot off Megan Faraimo – her second home run of the season. Dedrcik’s home run, hit past the outstretched glove of redshirt junior Kelli Godin, marked the third time UCLA did not strike first at Easton Stadium.
The blue and gold responded at the bottom of the frame to tie the matchup.
The Bruins loaded the bases with two walks and a hit. Faraimo stepped into the batter’s box with one out as a pinch hitter for redshirt junior outfielder Kelli Godin, with the chance to give herself run support.
Substituted in as a pinch-hitter, Faraimo took a walk to drive in the game-tying run, but was left stranded at first and returned to her pitching duties with the score knotted at 1-1.
Redshirt senior infielder Briana Perez – who started her day with a triple – said the team’s first time through the lineup was promising for future at-bats.
“The goal is to pass the bat,” Briana Perez said. “That’s what we did in the first inning, so we knew it was going to come eventually.”
In the circle, Faraimo retired nine consecutive Lions until a Bruin error extended the fourth inning. A two-out single put runners on first and second, but Faraimo escaped the jam with a flyout to center field.
“That first inning was rough,” Faraimo said. “But at the end of the day, I’m always confident that my team is going to have my back. The first thing (redshirt senior infielder Delanie Wisz) said after she hit that (home run) was ‘Alright, now’s the time to respond.’”
Jenna Perez retired 11 of 14 UCLA batters for the Lions, allowing a pair of singles and a walk. Her night ended in the Bruins’ five-run sixth while Faraimo held LMU scoreless in the final two innings to record the win.
“She’s a quality pitcher,” Inouye-Perez said. “She came up with some big pitches, her offspeed was effective, but clearly has some pitches that you’ve got to battle.
UCLA will take the diamond again Sunday at 3 p.m. with the chance to advance to Super with a win.