UCLA softball razes Rebels in Los Angeles Regional Championship win
Members of No. 5 seed UCLA softball cheer on redshirt junior second baseman Anna Vines following her first home run of the season in a game against Ole Miss on Sunday. Vines drilled a three-run homer over the centerfield wall in the top of the third inning to guide the Bruins to the run-rule triumph in the Los Angeles Regional Championship. (Marc-Anthony Rosas/Daily Bruin)
|No. 5 seed UCLA||9|
By Jordan Coyle
May 22, 2022 5:44 p.m.
This post was updated May 22 at 11:10 p.m.
The Bruins are advancing to their eighth consecutive Super Regionals in run-rule fashion.
No. 5 seed UCLA softball (46-8, 19-5 Pac-12) defeated Ole Miss (41-19, 12-12 SEC) by a score of 9-1 in five innings to clinch the Los Angeles Regional Championship on Sunday. With the run-rule victory, the blue and gold will advance to the Super Regionals, where they will face No. 12 seed Duke.
Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said the Bruins’ streak of Super Regionals appearances can be attributed to her program’s high standards.
“It’s been over 30 years of UCLA softball with a high expectation, and it’s not about me or even this current team – it’s about the history of the program, and the standard is high,” Inouye-Perez said. “We go out and recruit Bruins that love that standard. Pressure is a privilege. It’s hard, standards are hard, but we love it.”
Redshirt senior infielder Kinsley Washington got the hitting started for the Bruins with a leadoff single up the middle off of Rebel pitcher Anna Borgen. A three-run rally that featured back-to-back RBI doubles from redshirt senior third baseman Delanie Wisz and redshirt sophomore center fielder Maya Brady, followed by an RBI single from redshirt sophomore catcher Alyssa Garcia, prompted a pitching change for the Rebels after 0.1 innings.
The substitution in the circle did not stop the Bruins from tacking on a few more insurance runs and hitting through the order.
Facing pitcher Catelyn Riley, redshirt junior second baseman Anna Vines laced a two-RBI single through the right side to extend UCLA’s lead to five runs in the top of the first.
Redshirt senior pitcher Holly Azevedo retired the first four batters she faced before allowing her first baserunner with a walk in the second. The Bruins’ defense closed out the inning, tossing the ball around the diamond for a 5-4-3 double play.
Vines, the middle infielder of the double play, said her and Wisz had prepared for this moment before the game began.
“One thing I love about Lanie (Wisz) is she always communicates before every pitch,” Vines said. “We had actually talked about running a double play earlier before the game. We practice it all the time, so it’s just awesome to get it done during the game.”
Nearly clearing the fences, freshman right fielder Savannah Pola smacked a double to left center in the third frame, scoring Brady. Following a walk of redshirt junior designated player/pitcher Megan Faraimo, Vines crushed a no-doubter over the center field wall for her first home run of the season. The three-run blast prompted Ole Miss to make its third pitching change in just as many innings.
Vines, who went 2-for-2 with a career-high 5 RBIs, said she was happy she could help her team secure the win.
“I just wanted to do anything I could for the team,” Vines said. “Obviously, it’s a good feeling, especially going into home with all my teammates, but to be honest, it’s just good to help our team win.”
With a no-hitter on the line, a defensive error extended the inning.
With two outs on the board, redshirt senior infielder and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Briana Perez made a fielding error on a routine ground ball that allowed a runner to reach first. The following at-bat, Azevedo gave up an RBI single to right field – the Rebels’ first hit and first run of the contest.
Azevedo said she was aware of her no-hitter bid but added that she wouldn’t let it dampen her excitement at advancing to the next round.
“A lot of times we get down on ourselves about what ifs and all that stuff, but the thing about Bri (Perez) is she’s just such a clutch player and defender,” Azevedo said. “Although that (the no-hitter) was in the air, … we advanced to the Super Regional, so I’m just happy about that.”
The lone run would not prove to be enough.
Faraimo entered the game as a closer, tasked with getting the final out. After walking the first batter, she faced to load the bases, Faraimo struck out the following batter to punch UCLA’s ticket to the Super Regionals.