UCLA Softball Advances to Super Regionals with 2-1 Win over Golden Gophers
The Bruins got 5-1/3 innings of relief from Rachel Garcia and just enough offense to complete a sweep of the Los Angeles Regional.
UCLA softball will continue to defend their national title next weekend at home against the Virginia Tech Hokies. That’s because the Bruins defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers this afternoon by a score of 2-1.
Megan Faraimo started the game in the circle for UCLA and she retired the side in order in the first on just seven pitches, but she got into a little bit of trouble in the second.
Faraimo gave up a leadoff homer to Megan Dray to put the Gophers up 1-0. With one out, she also gave up a double to Emily Hansen. After getting the second out of the inning next, she hit Sidney Strelow with a pitch to give Minnesota runners on first and second. That would be Faraimo’s last batter of the game as head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez turned to Rachel Garcia to get the last out of the inning.
When Garcia entered the game, she hit Carlie Brandt with a pitch to load the bases, but she came right back and struck the next batter out.
Meanwhile, Minnesota starter Autumn Pease kept the Bruins hitless through the first three innings.
With one out in the fourth, UCLA finally got their first hit of the game on a single by who else but Rachel Garcia. Following a strikeout by Delanie Wisz, Maya Brady doubled down the left field line, giving the Bruins runners on second and third with two outs. Kinsley Washington drove the first pitch she saw up the middle, scoring both Rachel Garcia and Brady and UCLA took a 2-1 lead. With Garcia in the circle, it would be enough.
The bottom half of the inning saw Garcia retire the side while throwing just three pitches.
With two outs in the fifth, Minnesota used a single and an error to put runner on the corners. But Garcia struck out the next Gopher to end the threat.
The top of the sixth saw the Bruins try to add an insurance run and they almost did. Rachel Garcia singled and Grace Guzman pinch-ran for her. A one out single by Brady advanced Guzman to third while Brady moved up to second on the throw. When Kinsley Washington flew out to center, it was deep enough to score Guzman from third, but she left early and was doubled up at third in a terrible baserunning move by UCLA.
The bottom of the sixth was another quick one, with Garcia retiring the side on just four pitches.
UCLA wasn’t able to score in the top of the seventh as the Bruins needed just three outs to advance to the Super Regional. Rachel Garcia got Minnesota’s lead-off batter out on a first pitch infield pop-up, but the next batter reached on a throwing error by Perez. With the tying runner on second, Garcia struck out the next batter for out number two. She got Makenna Partain to fly out to left for the third out, ending the game.
Overall, Garcia threw 5-1/3 innings of relief. She allowed just one hit, no walks and one hit batter as she won her 16th game of the season.
The Bruins will now host the Hokies next weekend in the best of three Super Regionals. Game times have not yet been announced.