NCAA Softball Super Regionals: UCLA cruises past Arizona, Oregon upset by Kentucky

 

Los Angeles Super Regional: (3) UCLA 7, (14) Arizona 1

UCLA

The Bruins are one game away from the Women’s College World Series following a 7-1 win over Arizona, a postseason matchup we’ve only seen in Oklahoma City until this year.

Rachel Garcia was a star, per usual, striking out eight and allowing just one hit and one walk through 5.0 innings at UCLA’s Easton Stadium. She also smacked a two-run home run in the 5th for a final exclamation point before exiting the game.

UCLA scored in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th innings, nearly securing a run-rule victory in the 5th with a 7-0 lead and the clinching runner in scoring position.

Arizona

The Wildcats had a moment in the 3rd inning in which it felt like momentum shifted their way. They were down 3-0 in the bottom of the 3rd and UCLA had three on with no outs, but Wildcat pitcher Taylor McQuillin, one by one, struck out the three batters faced to get her team out of the jam and bring up the heart of the Arizona order.

The ‘Cats had a chance to catch up to UCLA that next frame, getting Reyna Carranco and Jessie Harper on with Dejah Mulipola up as the tying run, but she fell victim to Garcia’s rise ball and struck out swinging.

From then on, it was all UCLA.

Madeline Jelenicki accounted for the Bruins’ final two runs in the 5th, jacking a home run to right field with Bubba Nickles camped out on first. Jelenicki also homered in the 2nd to give UCLA a 2-0 advantage.

Arizona’s sole run came in the game’s final frame, a Mulipola score via an RBI groundout by Malia Martinez.

UCLA and Arizona play game two of their three-game series Friday at 6 p.m. PT.

Oregon

    Eugene Super Regional: (16) Kentucky 9, (1) Oregon 6

The Ducks suffered a tough loss at The Jane on Thursday, dropping game one of their Super Regional to the 16th-seeded Kentucky Wildcats.

The tournament’s No. 1 seed allowed nine runs, the most Oregon has given up all season long.

Kentucky came out swinging, plating three runners in the top of the 1st courtesy of an Alex Martens three-run home run. Oregon had no problem producing runs throughout the night, starting with a Gwen Svekis solo shot in the 2nd, but never recovered from that three-run deficit.

The Ducks came closest to a comeback in the 4th inning when they shaved Kentucky’s lead down to two runs. Oregon senior DJ Sanders got home on a wild pitch, making it 7-5, but the Ducks would only score one more run on the night while Kentucky tacked on two more.

Megan Kleist hurled a combined 4.2 innings for the Ducks, going the first 4.0 frames and then returning in the 7th. The junior struck out three but allowed seven hits and seven runs. Maggie Balint manned the circle for 2.1 innings, giving up three hits and two runs.

Oregon and Kentucky are back for game two of the best-of-three series Friday at 8 p.m. PT.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12:

(8) Arizona State hosts (9) South Carolina in their three-game series starting Friday at 8 p.m. PT.

(5) Washington and (12) Alabama kick off their three-game series Friday at 8 p.m. PT. in Seattle.

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