No. 5/5 UCLA Plays Five at Judi Garman Collegiate Classic
LOS ANGELES – The No. 5/5 UCLA softball team competes in five games this week at the Judi Garman Classic at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif., beginning with a Thursday double-header versus Cal Poly (10 a.m. PT) and Fresno State (12:30 p.m.). UCLA plays two more on Friday against Kansas (2:30 p.m. PT) and Weber State (5 p.m. PT), and will end the tournament with a night game featuring RV/RV Texas A&M (5 p.m. PT). There will be no available livestream for any of the games at the event, but there are audio-only broadcasts available for the Cal Poly and Texas A&M contests which are linked to the UCLA softball schedule page (uclabruins.com).
GAME 2: Thursday, March 3 vs. Fresno State
Venue: Anderson Family Field
First Pitch: 12:30 p.m. PT
GAME 3: Friday, March 4 vs. Kansas
Venue: Anderson Family Field
First Pitch: 2:30 p.m. PT
GAME 4: Friday, March 4 vs. Weber State
Venue: Anderson Family Field
First Pitch: 5 p.m. PT
LAST TIME AT THE JUDI GARMAN CLASSIC
The Bruins last participated in the Judi Garman Classic in 2019, going 3-1 in the tournament with a 3-1 loss to Michigan. UCLA defeated then-No. 3 Florida twice to begin the four-game spread. Rachel Garcia set a career-high with five RBI and a career-best four base hits, as well as her first career triple, in the Bruins' 7-1 trounce over the Gators in game one. Two days later, Garcia struck out 10 Florida batters in a complete-game, two-hit shutout effort. Garcia and Holly Azevedo combined for a one-hit shutout in the Judi Garman Classic finale in UCLA's 4-0 victory over UConn.
LAST TIME THEY MET/SERIES HISTORY
Cal Poly: The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Mustangs, 33-3, and have come out victorious in the programs' last 26 meetings. UCLA has won in mercy-rule fashion in 11 of those contests. UCLA's last loss to Cal Poly came on April 6, 1997 with a final score of 1-0.
Fresno State: The Bruins own a 48-11 advantage in the all-time series over the Bulldogs, dropping only one contest in the last 19 meetings. UCLA's most recent victory over Fresno State came on Opening Day 2021 with a final score of 7-0. Megan Faraimo struck out 13 across six shutout innings while Bubba Nickles and Rachel Garcia marked their returns to Easton with first-inning home runs.
Kansas: The Bruins are undefeated, 7-0, in the all-time series with the Jayhawks. UCLA's most recent victory over Kansas was on Feb. 25, 2006.
Weber State: UCLA leads the all-time series with Weber State, 9-1. The Bruins have not lost to the Wildcats since the two programs' first meeting on March 21, 1980. Weber State jumped on UCLA early with a 5-1 lead in the first inning of their last meeting on Feb. 29, 2020. The Bruins rallied with nine unanswered runs to end the game.
Texas A&M: The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Aggies, 13-11. Aaliyah Jordan recorded three hits, including a homer, and drove in four RBI in UCLA's 9-1 victory over Texas A&M in the last meeting on Feb. 21, 2020.
RECAPPING THE MARY NUTTER COLLEGIATE CLASSIC
UCLA swept its competition at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., with five victories, including two over ranked opponents. Pitcher Lauren Shaw twirled five scoreless innings of one-hit softball versus Iowa State before Holly Azevedo assumed pitching duties in the sixth inning and shutout the Cyclones for the rest of the game. A Delanie Wisz solo homer to dead center and a sacrifice squeeze in the third inning helped the Bruins to a 2-1 win over Texas Tech in game two on Friday. After allowing a leadoff home run and double to No. 17 Tennessee, Megan Faraimo was lights out for the next seven innings, striking out 18 in eight innings for the complete-game victory. Freshman Savannah Pola walked it off, 2-1, on the Volunteers with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Kinsley Washington. Utility Maya Brady and infielder Briana Perez launched back-to-back opposite field homers in the fourth inning against Baylor to get the go-ahead runs on the board, and the Bruins would not look back, winning 7-4. Brady opened the Mary Nutter finale against No. 16 Missouri with a grand slam in the first inning to help UCLA to a 7-5 victory.
FARAIMO MATCHES NCAA-HIGH 18 K's
Megan Faraimo bested her previous career-high of 17 strikeouts with 18 against the Volunteers on Saturday, Feb. 26, which matched the NCAA single-game high for strikeouts this season (four other athletes have struck out 18). Faraimo did it in dominant fashion, too, striking out 10 of the last 11 batters she faced and K'ing the side in both the top of the seventh and eighth innings. This performance came on the heels of a 12-strikeout, complete-game victory the night before versus Texas Tech. Faraimo has now struck out double-digit batters on three occasions this season (23 times in her career). Faraimo ranks first in the Pac-12 and third in the nation with 81 total strikeouts. She ranks second in the conference with 11.1 strikeouts per seven innings.
BRADY BOMBS AWAY
Maya Brady has now homered in three straight games and has eight RBI in that stretch. This marks the fourth time in her career she has homered in three straight games, last accomplishing the feat during games two and three of the 2021 NCAA Super Regionals versus Virginia Tech and game one of the Women's College World Series versus Florida State. Brady's first round-tripper of the weekend was a solo shot that tied the game against No. 17 Tennessee. Brady Bomb No. 2 was a three-RBI, opposite field homer to left field in the first inning versus Baylor. And the last of the three unloaded the bases with a grand slam in the first inning versus No. 16 Missouri. Brady now ranks second on the team with 15 RBI.
THE FRESHMAN HOLDING DOWN THE 3 SPOT
Utility Savannah Pola was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, the conference office announced Tuesday afternoon. Pola, who has hit in the three hole for UCLA's past six games, went 5-for-14 with two doubles and six RBI in the Bruins' 5-0 weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic. This is UCLA softball's first weekly award this season and first weekly honor of Pola's career. Pola knocked in the game-winning run against No. 17 Tennessee in extra innings with a sacrifice fly to center field. Pola finished the Nutter Classic with a 3-for-3 showing and a 2-RBI double to left field to stretch UCLA's lead to 7-0. Against Baylor, Pola hit a 2-RBI double to left center in the bottom of the sixth inning. She now ranks second on the squad with 14 hits and 27 total bases and is third with 14 RBI and a .326 batting average.
THREE BRUINS NAMED TO THE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
Jordan, Faraimo and infielder Briana Perez were listed amongst 50 student-athletes on the 2022 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Watch List, the organization announced on Jan. 26. UCLA is tied with four other programs (Alabama, Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma State) with three student-athletes represented while Oklahoma leads the nation with four. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award – recognized as the most distinguished individual honor in NCAA Division I Softball – has been previously awarded to UCLA's Stacey Nuveman in 2002 and Rachel Garcia twice in 2018 and 2019. UCLA softball is the only program to receive the honor three times. Faraimo and Garcia (2017-21) were finalists for 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year a season ago.