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With final Pac-12 home series, UCLA softball looks to extend win streak

Kirk Walker coaches redshirt senior outfielder Kelli Godin. The associate head coach is in his 22nd year with the program and his first in the position. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

Softball


Arizona State
Friday, 5 p.m.

Easton Stadium
Pac-12 Networks
Arizona State
Saturday, 8 p.m.

Easton Stadium
ESPN2
Arizona State
Sunday, 2 p.m.

Easton Stadium
Pac-12 Networks

By Nick Darrow

April 21, 2023 12:17 p.m.

After 13 straight wins, the Bruins will head home for their final Pac-12 home series of the season.

No. 2 UCLA softball (40-4, 15-3 Pac-12) will host Arizona State (27-17, 5-10) Friday through Sunday for the first time since its May 6-8 series a season ago, where the Bruins lost two out of three to the Sun Devils in Tempe. This will be the fourth and final Pac-12 series for the Bruins at Easton Stadium, where they are currently 16-1 on the season.

Even though she knows this will be an emotional final home series for the seniors, freshman pitcher Taylor Tinsley also emphasized the importance of putting their emotions aside.

“It is obviously sad, and it is going to be really heartfelt,” Tinsley said. “But it is important that we treat it like any other game and give it our all like we usually do every time we step out on that field.”

Tinsley has started the third-most games on the team, behind redshirt senior Megan Faraimo and sixth-year Brooke Yanez. As a trio, they have combined for 261 innings pitched and 308 strikeouts compared to only 53 walks. Faraimo factored into all three contests of last year’s series, posting a 1-2 record and granting the Sun Devils the walk-off hit en route to the Bruins’ 6-3 defeat in game three.

The Sun Devils will see two familiar faces this weekend in redshirt junior outfielder Janelle Meoño and redshirt junior catcher Sharlize Palacios, as they both are former members of in-state rival Arizona. Palacios, specifically, has found a groove recently with three homers in her last three games.

Palacios said this weekend is about her team and getting the win for the people around her.

“All of our minds and hearts are set on making this a really good series for our seniors,” Palacios said. “It is important to not take any time lightly and to play our game constantly so that we can get the results we want.”

Palacios has been one of the key contributors to an offense that is slated in the top-15 nationally in runs scored, as the Bruins have totaled 286 runs for an average of 6.5 runs a game. Along with that, UCLA is also top 15 in the nation in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Associate head coach Kirk Walker credited his team’s hitting success to being able to stay in the moment and focus on the task at hand.

“Obviously, at the beginning of conference play, we took a few losses,” Walker said. “However, since then, we have realized that we need to not focus on what happened yesterday or what is happening tomorrow, but to be successful at the plate, we need to work on the right now.”

UCLA’s series against Arizona State will open Friday at 5 p.m., followed by games Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

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Nick Darrow | Sports reporter
Darrow is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis, men's volleyball and men's soccer beats.
Darrow is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis, men's volleyball and men's soccer beats.
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