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Out of Bounds: UCLA Softball, Baseball Season Previews

By Jon Christon, Jack Nelson, and Joseph Crosby

Feb. 25, 2023 1:17 p.m.

In the year’s third episode of “Out of Bounds,” Daily Bruin’s sports podcast, senior staff writer Jon Christon checks in with Assistant Sports Editors Jack Nelson and Joseph Crosby about the 2023 seasons for No. 1 UCLA softball and No. 17 UCLA baseball. They discuss redshirt senior pitcher/first baseman Megan Faraimo’s player of the year candidacy, sophomore right-hander Alonzo Tredwell’s potential, and the worst- and best-case scenarios for both Bruin teams.

Note: The transcript for this podcast has been partially generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.

Jon Christon: Hi, my name is Jon Christon, and this is Out of Bounds, Daily Bruin’s sports podcast.

Jon Christon: Hi, hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Out of Bounds. I’m your host Jon Christon, a senior staff writer here at The Daily Bruin. I could not be more excited to get away from my usual co-host Sam Settleman this week, because we have a special edition of the podcast. We’re not doing basketball, we’re not doing football. We are doing a special baseball and softball themed episode, and I’m super excited to be joined by two newcomers on the pod: assistant sports editors Jack Matthew Nelson and Joseph Crosby. What’s up guys?

Jack Nelson: I’m doing well. Very excited to be on my first ever podcast and I’m excited for the rain this weekend. But yeah, otherwise great.

Joseph Crosby: Ready to talk some ball.

Jon Christon: Which one of you guys is more nervous to come on today?

Jack Nelson: I’m going to say it’s definitely me. Uh, Jos seems pretty chill over there but someone nerves a little bit, but excited for sure.

Joseph Crosby: Yeah, I’m excited but I’m not feeling super stressed. I’m just ready to talk shop, I guess.

Jon Christon: Softball and baseball both started back up in the last few weeks off. Softball is a little bit ahead of baseball. Softball is the No. 1 team in the country now. So that’s interesting. Lots of storylines, lots of fun stuff to talk about. And Jack is a softball editor Joseph is a baseball editor. There are no two people that know about their respective sports in these two so I thought it’d be a great idea to have him come on to preview some sports some fans are looking to get into once basketball ends and just regularly. But I have a series of questions for Jack and Joseph here. Ready to go, a few of them they prepared for, a few of them they haven’t. Just to get everyone excited to kind of preview each of these teams for people that I don’t know. So I’ll start with a very basic one or so softball and will follow up after with baseball. Jack, what is one word to describe UCLA softball season so far to catch up the fan who hasn’t watched?

Jack Nelson: Yeah, I think at the risk of making a sweeping statement this early in the season. Really? I would say triumphant. I mean, right now they’re 12-0. Best record in college softball right now. As you mentioned, No. 1, they actually just got the number one spot for the first time in two years, snapping Oklahoma’s 31 week streak at the top pretty wild to think about that and the way they’ve dominated called softball recently. They just finished up a tournament over in Clearwater, Florida at the tax act Clearwater Invitational. Beating No. 6, Florida State No. 10. Virginia Tech and No. 11, Alabama so a bunch of big Franklin’s for them. And yeah, it’s been a pretty, pretty impressive start so far for them.

Jon Christon: Joseph, what is one word to describe UCLA baseball’s very young season so far.

Joseph Crosby: Yeah, you know, baseball doesn’t have quite the pedigree that softball has developed yet. They’re only ranked 17th in the country. Haven’t played any big name opponents yet, but the one word I’d use for their season so far is powerful. There’s a lot of pop in there bats. They’re slugging 557 as a team through these first four games, and they’ve already hit seven homers, which is more than the two they had through the first four games last season. JonJon Vaughns, who I’m sure listeners of the pod might know from hearing about him playing football, has already hit three home runs which is tied for his 2022 total. So we’re just seeing a lot of you know, good at bats and other guys hitting the ball hard.

Jon Christon: Longtime listeners of the pod – the dozens of you guys out there right now – know I’m a huge JonJon Vaughns guy going back to football season not just because we share half of a name but big guy excited to watch him on the baseball team this year. And correct me if I’m wrong, baseball is 4-0.

Joseph Crosby: Baseball is 4-0. They’ve played they swept Omaha in their first series. And then just yesterday, they played Pepperdine and one in their midweek matchup, not quite as much of a resume thus far as softballs established.

Jon Christon: Joseph who is the best player on UCLA baseball?

Joseph Crosby: The best player on UCLA baseball, I’d say I’m gonna go with a bit of a hot take and go with Alonzo Tredwell, starting pitcher, take the Saturday games these days after being the closer last season, you pitch to a 2.11 ERA with six days as a freshman and now making that transition to the starting rotation. I think there’s a lot of talent. The ceiling is really high, and the floor is also really high that we’ve already seen so far. John Savage has gone on record saying he’s a Friday caliber pitcher. He’s a guy that you can have at the front of rotation so I think we’re gonna see some big things for him this year. He’s going to show out and be you know, the guy for UCLA.

Jon Christon: Jack, what about you who’s the best player in UCLA softball?

Jack Nelson: So I’ve been pretty torn on this one because a lot of people the easy pick here is Megan Faraimo. I will give a lot of credit to Maya Brady who’s really had like a scalding start her season. I mean, just the at the Stacey Winsburg invitational tournament they had to open up their season she tied the program record for consecutive at bats of the hit. And she currently leaves offense with like a .568 batting average. We want to hit .636 OB on base percentage. But yeah, I will go with Megan Faraimo I’ll just because really at this point in time, this is definitely her team. I mean, this is probably her last season as a wretched senior at the moment. And she’s the reigning pactual pitcher of the year, three times three time all Pac-12 First Team selection At the moment so far, she’s seven o with 1.26 era that is a little lower than where she stands last season. Of course, the season is still early, so that could definitely be subject to change. At the same time, that’s also not a sub 1.0 era, which in softball is kind of the gold standard there. Sue says has two shutouts, one of those being no hitter for complete games. And she’s really just the face of the pitching staff this year for USA softball. I mean, she’s obviously a strikeout machine. She’s proven that over the years has 69 Ks so far over 39 innings pitched. But I would say probably the biggest stat that stands out to me just looking through how she’s performed so far, would be her opposing batting average, which has been the lowest of her career so far. 116 and especially after a lot of the rank competition they saw over Clearwater, that’s something that definitely stands out to me on her resume.

Jon Christon: All right, well, we’ll go back to Jack who is a freshman to watch you know, not someone who’s going to be the best player with not going to take all the headlines like Faraimo and Brady but who’s like someone, some newcomer that you’re looking out for, that fans should be aware of?

Jack Nelson: So yeah, this one is a little tough, just because the recruiting class they’ve brought in has been one of the stronger ones that they’ve had in previous years. I mean, Taylor Tinslee, Megan Grant and Jordan Woolery are all really big names so far for this program, but I’m gonna go with the latter Jordan Woolery who’s an infielder and she’s really at this moment, right behind my ability when it comes to offensive production for this team. She is hitting .452, which is, as I said, second on the team, 14 RBIs. That’s third across the team. And then this slugging at 710 percentage, which is pretty pretty dang good for freshmen. If you think about the legacy of us playing softball, the names that have come through. And so far really, she’s been a key impact. I mean, she had a grand slam back in the tournament that was her first home run as actually as a Bruin. Pretty wild to see. And yeah, she’s proved to be a very, very clutch consistent hitter, which is something you still is going to need, especially in the latter stretch of the season. And also, it’s going to be really important to see how she is going to be able to replace or at least try and make up for some of the production that was lost by Delanie Wisz and then Briana Perez, who both left the program after last season.

Jon Christon: Joseph, what are you who’s the best freshman or just generally newcomer that UCLA fan should watch for baseball?

Joseph Crosby: Yeah, I think a freshman to keep an eye on is is Cody Delvecchio, you know, you still have baseballs incoming freshman class was, you know, it was strongest, I think it was top 25 in the country, typically is but there’s not just not a lot of space in the lineup and the rotation in the pitching staff to like for these freshmen to make an impact. But Cody Delvecchio has definitely made his mark though, thus far. He’s got six strikeouts over his three innings pitched across three games. So I think look for him to be a guy in the bullpen. That’s you know, taking some leverage innings covering some of those gaps in you know, your Sunday games or Tuesday games and getting UCLA through 19 is a ball but if you know if you’re talking to any kind of newcomer AJ Salgado is infielder outfielder he plays first played a little bit right field, he’s found himself in the lineup filling that hole that Jake Palmer, left after leaving last season. And he’s a transfer which is not something super common. We’ve seen a John Savage program. So keep an eye out for him to be, you know, not a freshman but a newcomer on the team and making an impact really.

Jon Christon: Going back to Joseph with another baseball question. What is one storyline to watch for this season?

Joseph Crosby: Yeah, I think the storyline piggybacks on what I said about the best player is going to be Alonzo Tredwell, his transition to becoming a starting pitcher. Last season, we saw Max Rajcic make that transition from teams closer to starting pitcher and then he proceeded to get drafted in the sixth round by the Cardinals this past season. So I think look out for Treadwell to be making that similar trajectory, that similar change of being the team’s closer and then being their Saturday starting pitcher and just being you know, an anchor of the rotation and an anchor of that pitching staff. Because like I said Tredwell, the ceiling I think is incredibly high. And that’s not just because he’s 6-foot-8. But just look for him to be you know, be a dude on the pitching staff.

Jon Christon: Was that a pun? The 6-foot-8 thing?

Joseph Crosby: Yeah, it just came to me. 

Jon Christon: Jack, what are you storyline to watch for UCLA softball?

Jack Nelson: Yeah, so I would say one of the things that stood out to me so far, and I think a lot of people will see this just by looking at the roster and following the team is that the pitching staff this year is pretty old. You’ve got three out of the four pitchers projected to leave after the season, those being transfer Brooke Yanez from Oregon and graduate student Lauren Shaw. So it feels like this is kind of like an all in or nothing year for a useless pitching roster and their staff there. Of course, with the fourth being Taylor Tinsley, a freshman so she’ll be able to kind of spearhead the staff going forward after this season. But yeah, this definitely feels like one of the more experienced kind of deeper bullpens they’ve had in years, which as Usili knows maybe more than you know, any other program. That’s really something that’s valuable to have going into, you know, the Women’s College World Series and going into June once that probably inevitably happens later in the season for them. So I mean, from what I’ve seen so far from fishing I mean it was they had a very hot start to complete game shutouts two no hitters, and they’re opening Stacey Winesburg tournament, when they went to Clearwater for that Invitational against a lot of range competition. Of course, that came with a lot more challenges for the staff, they had some more earned runs, still played pretty well, they usually put their offense in a position to win, which is really all you can ask from a kind of pitching staff against really tougher competition. But yeah, it’s gonna be interesting to see how they’re gonna fare against the number two and number three teams and Florida in Oklahoma. Or sorry, wait. No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Florida. coming up this weekend, Cathedral City.

Jon Christon: Alright, we’re gonna take a quick break. And then we’ll get into best case, worst case scenario for the rest of the season when we come back. 

Jon Christon: All right, we’re back. It’s time for some not super predictions, but just you know, looking at the ceilings and the floors of each of these teams to kind of end this conversation off, Joe. So let’s start with you. Best case, worst case for UCLA baseball, what are they?

Joseph Crosby: Yeah, I think the best case for this team is a trip to Omaha. And in appearance, you know, in that top eight College World Series, I feel like I’m using the term ceiling and floor a lot. But when you look at where this team ended up last season, they have made an appearance at the Auburn regional and then didn’t advance to a Super Regional. And it’s largely the same team returning. I think there is the talent there to make an appearance in Omaha. But I don’t know if they can really get any further than that. When you look at some of these other teams out in the country, like especially in the SEC, Mississippi State’s got a guy touching loads mid 90s With from both sides of the rubber. And you just see all this talent out there. It’s hard to say if this UCLA roster is going to be able to get it done and hoist the trophy at the end of the season. But I think making it to Omaha is not really out of the realm of possibility. And then in terms of worst case, it’s floundering in the Pac 12 tournament that was instituted last year, and just not having a good showing and then, you know, bouncing out of the regional pretty quickly. without making any kind of good postseason showing. There’s I think this team’s floor is 100% Making a regional they’re definitely one of the 64 best teams in the country. But I think, you know, in a sport like baseball, the worst case is definitely, you know, floundering in the postseason and not giving any kind of grounding.

Jon Christon: Where do you think UCLA baseball ends their season?

Joseph Crosby: I think they’re gonna end on a regional. I don’t see this team doing any better than last season’s and making it to a Super Regional. It’s hard to gauge so early in the season, but if I had to make one pick, it would be making a regional and then not going any further than that.

Jon Christon: Pessimistic, picking up Sam’s job. Tough. Alright, Jack, best case, worst case scenario for softball.

Jack Nelson: So for best case, I’m gonna go with a pick that a lot of people would probably make. But I’m gonna say a national championship. I mean, everyone knows how procedures is program as everyone knows that every year like it’s they have a pretty darn good shot and making at least making the Women’s College World Series and then they have also a pretty good shot of winning it all. Of course, that’s been more difficult in recent years due to the behemoth that is Oklahoma softball. But I mean, that really was what I see is the ceiling for this team right now is national championship. And I, I think it’ll really come down to that power struggle with Oklahoma. And I really think that Florida is gonna give UCLA real run for its money. It’s gonna be interesting to see how UCLA shapes up against Florida, over in Cathedral City this weekend. But I think it’s really gonna come down to whether this team has what it takes to beat Oklahoma and ultimately be the better team in June. And I think for Worst case, probably an early exit and Women’s College World Series. I think my my main concern at this point in time is just with kind of a little bit of lack of experience in the starting lineup. I mean, you’ve got three freshmen in Jordan Woolery, Meghan grant Kennedy Powell, who so far produced pretty well. But like I said, losses of Brianna President Delaney wiz are going to be tough for this team to overcome, especially down the stretch when experienced is really what you need in the heart of that lineup. Like I’ve said, the trio of freshmen so far is pretty pretty well. But against tougher pitchers that have been to the World Series before that know what it takes to win it all that level. It’s going to be tough for them to kind of replicate that production or at least put UCLA in a winning position at the plate.

Jon Christon: Where does UCLA softball season and this season?

Jack Nelson: So I’m going to say that I think they actually will make the finals of the World Series this year. However, I do think that Oklahoma is going to repeat once again as national champions. I mean, there’s a reason that this team was picked number one and preseason, and probably will overtake UCLA next week after the tournament Cathedral City for the number one spot Because Oklahoma has just has so much experience on the roster. They’ve just been able to really dominate in the postseason. It’s been something that we haven’t seen since the mid 90s. of UCLA softball, which of course, a long time ago. But yeah, I think Oklahoma ultimately is going to get the better of this use of a team down the stretch, and we’ll see if we’ll see if that pans out or not.

Jon Christon: I got one more for each of them. Guys. How was your first time being on a podcast good or no?

Joseph Crosby: It’s good. And yeah, happy to be here. We’d love to come back. 

Jack Nelson: Yeah, no, I’ll echo your sentiments there, Jos. So it was definitely a blast for me, very chilled. Good time. Other than Sam trying to interrupt us by opening some goldfish, which I did not appreciate. Opening it very loudly I might add. Yeah, this was a great time and hopefully I’ll be back on this podcast pretty soon.

Jon Christon: Yeah, I have to say I did not miss Sam. I miss Gavin a little bit. He’s usually here with us talking about basketball. And we’ll probably be back talking about basketball next week with a big Arizona game coming up in the Pac 12 tournament looming. But I have to say Joseph and Jack are great today. I was happy to have him on. So thank you guys for coming on. Thank you guys for making your podcast debuts. But that’s gonna wrap us up.

Jon Christon: Out of Bounds is brought to you by the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper. You can listen to this show and others on Spotify, Apple podcasts and SoundCloud and a transcript for this show is now available in Thanks, everyone.

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Jon Christon | Sports senior staff
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
Jack Nelson | Assistant Sports editor
Nelson is currently an assistant Sports editor on the softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. He was previously a contributor on the men's tennis and women's tennis beats.
Nelson is currently an assistant Sports editor on the softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. He was previously a contributor on the men's tennis and women's tennis beats.
Joseph Crosby | Assistant Sports editor
Crosby is a 2022-2023 assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats. He was previously a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats. He is also a third-year statistics student.
Crosby is a 2022-2023 assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats. He was previously a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats. He is also a third-year statistics student.
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