UCLA Softball: Faraimo's One-Hitter Forces Game Three
Meanwhile, Maya Brady's second inning solo homer proved to be the game-winning hit.
After UCLA softball’s worst loss since 2018 on Thursday, the Bruins came into last night’s game looking like the defending national champions. Not only did Megan Faraimo hold Virginia Tech to just one hit, but UCLA played error-free softball. And, it was a good thing they did because there wasn’t much room for error, pun intended.
That’s because the Bruin offense still had trouble getting to the Hokies’ Keely Rouchard. While Rouchard only gave up four hits in the game, UCLA made two big ones stick.
In the second, Maya Brady sent a 2-2 pitch from Rouchard flying over the fence in right center. Then, in the third, Aaliyah Jordan also sent a pitch from Rouchard over the wall in right center, giving the Bruins an insurance run.
And, that was all the scoring to be had in last night’s game.
The win by the Bruins forced a third and decisive game between the teams with a berth in the Women’s College World Series on the line tonight.
It seems pretty clear that Keely Rouchard will be in the circle again for the Hokies, but the big questions tonight for the Bruins will be answered by head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez: Who will start tonight’s game for UCLA? Will it be Rachel Garcia, the two-time national player of the year, who was tagged for nine hits and six runs in four innings on Friday? Or, will it be Faraimo, who has pitched nine scoreless innings, while allowing just two hits and two walks, so far this weekend without giving up a run to the Hokies?
Those questions would seem to answer themselves. Based on their performances so far this weekend, it seems like Faraimo is the better choice heading into tonight’s game. But Inouye-Perez has always seemed to have a blind spot when it comes to Garcia. You’ll recall that in 2018 Inouye-Perez sent Garcia to the circle to pitch both games against Florida State. The result was that pitching in the Oklahoma heat in the first game left Garcia so drained that she totally ran out of steam in the second inning of the second game. The Bruins went on to lose both games to Florida State that day and the Bruins were sent home.
Don’t get me wrong. Rachel Garcia is an amazing pitcher. But, given the elimination nature of tonight’s game, I think it’s more important that Inouye-Perez stay with the hot hand of Megan Faraimo instead of turning to Garcia because “she has more rest” or whatever other excuse Kelly might offer as a reason for going with the senior. Faraimo has earned the start tonight and she should go until she gets into trouble. If she does get herself into trouble, Inouye-Perez can always use a quick hook and bring Garcia into the game.
Los Angeles Super Regional
Teams: #2 seed UCLA Bruins (45-5) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (37-14)
When: 6:30 pm PT, Saturday, May 29, 2021
Where: Easton Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast