Sunday Night Softball preview: Utah at UCLA
Who: No. 20 Utah at No. 10 UCLA
When: 5 p.m. PT/6 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Mountain, and Pac-12 Los Angeles with JB Long and Tammy Blackburn
Pac-12 softball conference play is back in full force, and this weekend is already one for the books. No. 20 Utah took down No. 10 UCLA in the series opener on Friday night for the first time EVER in Westwood, and followed it up with another strong performance on Saturday, topping the Bruins 7-2. UCLA will look to salvage the series on Sunday, while the Utes will go for the sweep.
On the home team: UCLA Bruins (21-7, 0-2 Pac-12)
No. 10 UCLA, a perennial powerhouse, started this season 26-5 coming into conference play. They were strong on both sides of the ball, shutting out their opponents nine times and run-ruling teams in seven games.
Bruins to watch:
Brianna Tautalafua, sophomore - Tautalafua showed her power on Friday night when she got the Bruins on the baord with a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th. She leads the Bruins with nine longballs on the year. The sophomore also provided an offensive spark on Saturday, singling home two runs in the loss.
Delaney Spaulding, senior - One of only two seniors on the team, Spaulding's leadership is key for the Bruins. She leads the team in slugging percentage (.784) and is second in home runs and doubles.
Kylee Perez, junior - Perez leads the Bruins in batting average (.462), hits (42), and doubles (11). She not only leads her teams' offense, she paces the Pac-12, finishing in the top three in all of those categories across the conference as well.
Kylee Perez had a four-hit game against Longwood, and led the Bruins to an undefeated weekend at the Louisville Slugger Invitational. pic.twitter.com/bBwbWxcfFz
— UCLA Athletics (@UCLAAthletics) March 13, 2017
On the visiting team: Utah Utes (20-4, 2-0 Pac-12)
The Utes, who finished fourth in the Pac-12 last season, have come into 2016-17 looking to make a statement, taking the first two games down in LA. Pitching for Utah has been clutch this weekend, allowing just three runs over the course of two days.
Utes to watch:
Hannah Flippen, senior - Flippen was key to getting her team their first-ever win in Westwood with the go-ahead RBI in the top of the third on Friday night. She busted Saturday's game wide open with a grand slam in the top of the seventh, and she leads the Utes offense in home runs (6), doubles (7) and RBIS (30).
— Utah Softball (@Utah_Softball) March 19, 2017
Alyssa Barrera, freshman - The freshmen phenom has been huge for the Utes this weekend. She got the scoring started for Utah on Friday night with a single, and added another two hits, inluding another RBI, on Saturday to break up a scoreless game.
Miranda Viramontes, junior - Viramontes has been nothing short of dominant on the mound for the Utes. Her third complete game of the season earned her the win on Friday night as she moved to a perfect 6-0 on the season.