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UCLA Softball Season Over After 10-3 Loss to Oklahoma
The Bruins gave up too many runs and couldn't generate enough offense against the Sooners.
There is no joy in Westwood tonight as the UCLA softball team was eliminated from the 2021 Women’s College World Series when the Bruins lost to Oklahoma, 10-3.
While Rachel Garcia, who concluded her collegiate career tonight, she was not the dominant force in the circle that she had been in seasons past. In fact, I’d argue that she wasn’t the best pitcher on the UCLA pitching staff. Instead, Megan Faraimo was the better pitcher this year and it was Faraimo’s absence from the Women’s College World Series due to a hand injury which, ultimately, has the Bruins headed home after playing just three games in Oklahoma City as head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez has no other option but to send Garcia into the circle for UCLA.
Of course, the other problem the Bruins had was an overall lack of offense. Last night, UCLA couldn’t pick up a single hit off Montana Fouts of Alabama, who threw a perfect game. While UCLA’s offense was better tonight, the Bruins still only scored three runs on a three-run homer by Rachel Garcia.
Tonight, the Bruins left nine runners on base and their failure to get any of those runners across is another reason that UCLA is headed home.
The Bruins did manage to get on the scoreboard first in the third inning tonight against Oklahoma. Aaliyah Jordan led off the third with a single up the middle. A walk by Briana Perez set the stage for Garcia’s three-run homer. After two and a half innings, UCLA had a 3-0 lead and things were looking good for the Bruins.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Garcia hit Nicole Mendes with a pitch. With two outs, Jocelyn Ajo tripled to center, scoring Mendes. Kinzie Hansen hit an infield single which scored Ajo, but the Bruins held a 3-2 lead after three.
In the fourth, UCLA could only muster a two-out single by Briana Perez. Meanwhile, in the bottom of the fourth, two errors gave the Sooners runners on second and third with one out. Tiare Jennings drove both runners in with a two-RBI double to right and the Sooners took the lead for good, 4-3.
Under normal circumstances, that might have been enough to cause a pitching change from Garcia to Faraimo, but that wasn’t possible. So, Garcia remained in the circle and she gave up a solo homer to Mackenzie Donihoo as Oklahoma took a 5-3 lead.
The sixth inning proved to be the final nail in the coffin for UCLA when the Sooners scored five more runs including three more off Garcia before she was relieved by Holly Azevedo and, heading into the seventh, Oklahoma had a commanding 10-3 lead.
In the seventh, the Bruins were retired in order and, with that, another 2021 UCLA team’s season concluded with the Bruins still seeking their 120th NCAA title.