Top-Ranked Bruins Open 2021 Season at Home
TOP-RANKED BRUINS OPEN 2021 SEASON WITH FRESNO STATE AND CAL POLY
The No. 1 UCLA Bruins begin their 2021 campaign at Easton Stadium this weekend, hosting Fresno State on Friday at 2 p.m. and Cal Poly in a Saturday doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. All three games will be live streamed at UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins will play a pair of doubleheaders next weekend, traveling to Cal State Fullerton for a Saturday twinbill starting at 1 p.m. UCLA then entertains Loyola Marymount at Easton Stadium on Sunday, starting at 11 a.m.
All dates and times are subject to change on short notice. With no fans allowed at games, every effort will be made to live stream contests, with links being made available on the UCLA softball schedule page. Also, additional games in March, April and May could be selected for television.
BE AT EASTON STADIUM ... IN CUTOUT FORM!
While we aren't going to be able to have our families, friends and fans at Easton Stadium this season, you can still be there in spirit through our fan cutout program!
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
UCLA was a unanimous No. 1 choice in the USA Today/NFCA preseason rankings, garnering all 32 first-place votes. The Bruins picked up 19 of 20 first-place votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings. UCLA is also No. 1 in the Softball America and D1Softball polls. The Bruins were first in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, earning seven of a possible eight first-place votes.
SCOUTING THE FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS
Fresno State, which is just outside the Top 25 in the preseason national polls, posted a 21-4 record in its COVID-19 shortened season in 2020, ending the year on a six-game winning streak. The Bulldogs handed Texas one of its three losses in 2020. Fresno State hit .296 with 19 home runs and 5.92 runs per game in 25 contests. Junior McKenzie Wilson hit .474 with 26 stolen bases, while senior Schuylar Broussard led the team with six home runs and 33 runs batted in. Senior Hailey Dolcini returns in the circle after going 10-1 with a 1.51 earned run average and 77 strikeouts in 65 innings. Junior Danielle Lung was 5-2 with 51 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings.
BRUINS AND BULLDOGS
UCLA is 47-11 all-time against Fresno State, having won the last four meetings, including a pair of matchups in 2019 (8-2 and 8-0 in five innings). The Bruins are 15-1 at home versus the Bulldogs. In the current stretch of 18 wins in 19 games for UCLA, Fresno State's lone victory was a 6-3 win in 2012.
SCOUTING THE CAL POLY MUSTANGS
Cal Poly went 10-13 in 2020, hitting .290 as a team with eight home runs and an average of 3.96 runs per game. Junior Maddie Amos was the top hitter for the Mustangs a season ago, batting .359. Shelby Jeffries shared the homer lead with three and was tops with 16 runs batted in. In the circle, junior Krystyna Allman was the top pitcher for Cal Poly in 2020, recording a 3.06 earned run average, a 6-3 record and 54 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings.
BRUINS AND MUSTANGS
The Bruins beat Cal Poly twice last year, both 8-0, with the second game on March 8 being the final one before the season was canceled. UCLA is 33-3 all-time against Cal Poly, having won 26 in a row. The Bruins are 13-1 at home against the Mustangs, who last beat UCLA in 1997.
--UCLA finished the 2020 season ranked first in the nation in on base percentage (.453), shutouts (13), strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.52) and winning percentage (.962). The Bruins were also second in batting average (.368) and earned run average (1.20), fourth in runs per game (7.69), seventh in slugging (.594), tied for eighth in doubles (45), tied for 11th in home runs (31), tied for 13th in walks (95), tied for 15th in stolen bases (47) and tied for 20th in fielding percentage (.974).
--Individually, Megan Faraimo led the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio (29.80) and was also second with 149 strikeouts, tied for second with 13 wins, tied for sixth in shutouts (5) and 12th in ERA (0.85).
--Other Bruins ranking in the Top 20 nationally last season were Aaliyah Jordan (Doubles, 2nd, 13), Briana Perez (Runs Scored, T-4th, 31; RBI, T-17th, 28; and Hits, T-20th, 34), Kinsley Washington (Runs Scored, T-10th, 29), Holly Azevedo (Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio, 17th, 7.17), Maya Brady (RBI, T-17th, 28) and Lexi Sosa (Shutouts, T-19th, 3).
--The Bruins won nine national and conference weekly honors in 2020. Faraimo was a three-time Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 11, Feb. 25 and March 10) and also was named NFCA National Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 18. Brady was both the Pac-12 Player and Freshman of the Week on Feb. 11. Jordan earned NFCA National Player of the Week plaudits on Feb. 18, Lexi Sosa, who pitched the 18th perfect game in UCLA history on March 7, 2020 against Boston U., was Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on March 10 and Delanie Wisz was Pac-12 Player of the Week on March 10. UCLA won all three Pac-12 honors (Player, Pitcher, Freshman) in both the first and last weeks of the season.
--The Bruins, who went 25-1 in 2020, started the season with wins in 25 of their first 26 games for the third year in a row. UCLA was 35-1 in 2019 before suffering its second loss and 25-0 in 2018 before dropping two in a row.
--UCLA scored in its first at-bat in 19 of 26 games, scoring 59 runs in the first inning.
--The season ended with some impressive streaks intact. Faraimo did not allow a run in her final 25 2/3 innings, while Sosa was scoreless in her last 18 2/3 innings of 2020. Perez had hits in each of the last 10 games of the season, and she enters 2021 tied for sixth in UCLA history with a .390 batting average.
--Also on the career charts, Jordan has 48 doubles, which is eighth in UCLA history. Her .411 career average is fourth-best, her .491 on base percentage is third and her .715 slugging is fifth.
--Holly Azevedo has had perfect records in two of her three seasons (8-0 in 2020, 15-0 in 2018) and has an incredible career record of 34-1.
--Oh yeah, Olympians Rachel Garcia and Bubba Nickles are back for the Bruins after spending the 2020 season touring with Team USA.
--A record six Bruins, redshirt seniors Rachel Garcia and Bubba Nickles, redshirt juniors Aaliyah Jordan and Briana Perez and redshirt sophomore Megan Faraimo and Kelli Godin, were named to the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List. UCLA led all schools with its six honorees. Garcia has won the last two POYs (2018 and 2019). Redshirt and true freshmen are ineligible for consideration to the Watch List, but can be added to future lists as the season progresses. The next update will be April 21 when the Top 25 finalists are announced.
--Softball America announced its Preseason All-Americans. Garcia, Jordan and Nickles were named to the First Team, while Faraimo earned Second Team honors.
--D1Softball announced its Preseason All-Americans. Faraimo, Garcia, Jordan and Nickles were named to the First Team, while Maya Brady earned Second Team accolades.
--Softball America announced Top 25 preseason rankings for every class, with the Bruins topping the list in each of those classes. In the senior class, Garcia was No. 1, while Nickles was No. 10. Jordan was first in the junior class and Perez checked in at No. 12. Faraimo was the top-ranked sophomore and Godin was fifth. Brady was first in the freshman class and Lexi Sosa placed 24th.
--Softball America also announced its Preseason College Top 100. Garcia was No. 1, followed by Jordan (No. 7), Faraimo (No. 8), Nickles (No. 18), Perez (No. 33), Brady (No. 36) and Godin (No. 44).