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No. 3 UCLA Takes Winning Streak to Stanford

Apr 7, 2022
Briana Perez celebrates a terrific diving stop and assist by fellow middle infielder Anna Vines (photo by Ross Turteltaub).
Ross Turteltaub/UCLA Athletics

LOS ANGELES – The No. 3 UCLA softball team plays a three-game set versus RV Stanford at Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium, beginning this Friday, April 8 at 6 p.m. PT. Game two on Saturday, April 9 has a first pitch time of 2 p.m. PT, and the series finale on Sunday, April 10 will begin at 12 p.m. PT. All three games between the Bruins (31-3, 9-0 Pac-12) and Cardinal (24-9, 3-3 Pac-12) will be available for viewing on the Stanford Live Stream.

Delanie Wisz leads UCLA with a .500 batting average, nine RBI and two home runs since the start of conference play. Megan Faraimo, Holly Azevedo and Lauren Shaw each hurled at least six innings and picked up a win in their respective starts of the Oregon series last weekend.

GAME 1: Friday, April 8
Venue: Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium
First Pitch: 6 p.m. PT
Watch: Stanford Live Stream
Talent: Jenna Becerra
Live Stats

GAME 2: Saturday, April 9
Venue: Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium
First Pitch: 2 p.m. PT
Watch: Stanford Live Stream
Talent: Kevin Danna (PxP), Jenna Becerra (Analyst)
Live Stats

GAME 3: Sunday, April 10
Venue: Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium
First Pitch: 12 p.m. PT
Watch: Stanford Live Stream
Talent: Kevin Danna (PxP), Jenna Becerra (Analyst)
Live Stats

UCLA has swept three consecutive top-15 opponents to open Pac-12 play, matching the program's previous best start to the conference schedule set in 2019. The only other time the Bruins won nine straight conference games – at any point of the season – was in 2010. Both the 2010 and 2019 campaigns ended with UCLA hoisting NCAA titles. The Bruins' three sweeps have come against schools picked to finish second (Washington) and third (Arizona/Oregon) in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll.

The Bruins are now riding a 24-game winning streak dating back to Feb. 25. Eight of the Bruins' victories in that 24-game span have been mercy-rules. This is UCLA's longest winning streak since 2018 when it opened the season with 25 consecutive victories for the longest winning streak in the The Shelly Carlin UCLA Head Softball Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez era. The program's longest winning streaks of 35 consecutive games came in the 1999 and 2001 seasons. During the 24-game stretch, three Bruins are hitting at or above .400: Delanie Wisz (.448), Briana Perez (.433) and Savannah Pola (.400). Wisz leads the Bruins with a .448 batting average, eight home runs, 26 RBI, .564 on-base percentage and .914 slugging percentage. Briana Perez is not far behind with a .433 batting average, .910 slugging percentage, six homers and a team-best 16 extra-base hits. Maya Brady is tied with Wisz for eight homers, and Savannah Pola has 10 doubles during the 24 games. In the circle, Megan Faraimo has accounted for 11 wins, Azevedo for 10 wins and Shaw for three wins.

The Bruins rode the arms of three different pitchers to a series sweep of another quality opponent in the Ducks last weekend. UCLA trailed in only two innings of the series. A one-run Oregon lead thanks to a homer by Ariel Carlson in the second inning of game one was quickly erased by a Seneca Curo RBI single and error in right field to score Maya Brady in the fourth inning. The Bruins etched runs across the board in the next two bottom half innings with an RBI double from Savannah Pola to plate Briana Perez in the fifth and Alyssa Garcia's first home run of the season in the sixth.
Delanie Wisz drove in UCLA's first three runs of game two behind a two-run blast and single to right field. Seneca Curo also recorded her first home run of the season in the fourth inning.
Pola capped her weekend with a three-run homer in the third inning of the series finale for her team-leading ninth multi-RBI game of the season.

Megan Faraimo, Holly Azevedo and Lauren Shaw all threw at least six innings and earned victories in their respective starts in the Oregon series last weekend. The trio, which has accounted for three perfect games and five no-hitters, lead the Pac-12 in nearly every pitching category: strikeouts (310), K/7 (10.00), ERA (1.13), hits allowed (125) and H/7 (4.03). Faraimo, Azevedo and Shaw rank first, second and third, respectively, in the Pac-12 in H/7. 
Faraimo and Azevedo, who became the 17th and 18th pitchers in program history to reach 50 career wins earlier this season, rank first among Power-5 pitching duos in combined wins with 27 and second nationally behind USC Upstate's Hannah Houge and Alyssa Kelly. Azevedo is just two wins shy of tying her season high of 15 set as a freshman in roughly 3/5 of the innings load (115.2 in 2020; 69.1 in 2022). This season, she is averaging 10.00 K/7; her previous season-best mark was 6.95, established during the shortened 2020 campaign. She is also on pace to establish career bests in ERA and opponent batting average this season by a landslide: 1.74 ERA in 2020/1.21 ERA in 2022 ... .207 opp. avg. in 2020/.159 opp. avg. in 2022.
The Bruins have had two 20-game winners in the same season six times in the program's 47-year history. The last duo of Bruins to reach the 20-win threshold in the same season were Amanda Freed and Keira Goerl in 2002.

Delanie Wisz, who was not named to a single preseason All-America or top-100 list (Softball America/D1Softball/Extra Inning/USA Softball), has led the Bruins in the third and fourth spots in the lineup during their most impressive stretch of play this season, reaching base safely in 25 consecutive games. In Pac-12 play, Wisz owns a team-best .500 batting average, 11 hits, 19 total bases, nine RBI, .864 slugging percentage, six walks, .621 on-base percentage and two homers. Wisz's four extra-base hits in the conference schedule have come at crucial times with each giving the Bruins' the go-ahead run or proving to be the difference in a W. Her first two-bagger in game one of the Arizona series scored the first run in the Bruins' 5-0 shutout victory. Her double in game one of the Washington series put UCLA up 1-0 in the first inning. Her homer in the seventh inning of game three against the Huskies proved to be the winning run in UCLA's 5-4 triumph. Lastly, in game two of the Oregon series, the Bruins rode her two-run blast in the first inning and RBI single in the third to victory.

Following her second two-double game of the season in game one of the Oregon series, freshman Savannah Pola leads the Pac-12 with 13 doubles this season. Pola also ranks second amongst Pac-12 freshmen with 37 hits, trailing the conference-leader Kiki Escobar at Oregon State. 

Briana Perez's leadoff triple on an 0-0 count in the fifth inning of game one versus Oregon marked her sixth three-bagger of the year, surpassing her former season high of five in 2021 which led UCLA a year ago. The last time a Bruin had more than six triples in a season was Andrea Duran with seven in 2006. Duran holds the program single-season record for triples with eight set in 2005. Perez is now in sole possession of third place on UCLA's career triples list with 18. She need three more triples to tie Janice Parks and Natasha Watley for first place with 21.
Perez has scored a run in six straight games. Her three runs in the Oregon series put her at 246 runs scored in her career. She needs six runs to tie and seven to surpass Natasha Watley (252) for the runs scored crown. Perez is averaging just under one run scored per game this season (0.94).

Briana Perez has hit at a .429 average the last seven games since entering the leadoff spot in the lineup in game three of the Arizona series. Perez is 3-for-6, including two doubles and a walk to leadoff games in that stretch and has came around to score three of the four times she's reached base. 

Holly Azevedo threw her second no-hitter of the season and of her career in game two of the Arizona series on Sunday, March 20. It was the Bruins' fifth no-hitter of the season, marking their most in a single season since the 1994 campaign when DeeDee Weiman and B'Ann Burns combined for 10 no-no's. Azevedo notched a career-high 13 strikeouts in the process for the fourth double-digit strikeout performance of her career all of which coming this season. Her performance marked UCLA's first no-no over a top-10 opponent (NFCA poll) since April 11, 2009, when Megan Langenfeld no-hit No. 3 Washington. Azevedo was also the owner of UCLA's third no-hitter in the UCLA-Arizona series history and the first for the Bruins since Lisa Longaker's no-no on April 4, 1988. Azevedo's first no-hitter of the year came on opening night versus CSUN on Feb. 10. Azevedo is the 23rd pitcher in UCLA's illustrious history of hurlers to record multiple no-hitters in her career.
Azevedo's performance came on the heels of a week filled with perfection. Lauren Shaw (2.0 IP) and Megan Faraimo (3.0 IP) combined to throw the 21st perfect game in UCLA history against Pennsylvania on March 10. The very next game against CSU Bakersfield, Faraimo retired all 15 Roadrunner batters on strikes to throw back-to-back perfectos and the third solo perfect game of her career. Faraimo needed just 59 pitches (52 strikes) to achieve perfection against the Roadrunners, throwing only seven balls, the first of which coming to the third batter in the third inning. Faraimo opened the game with 30 consecutive strikes and averaged 3.96 pitches per batter on the way to recording UCLA's 22nd perfect game in program history. 
A week before those two perfectos, Faraimo tossed the Bruins' first perfect game of the season versus Fresno State on March 3. The Bruins have thrown their three perfect games this season -- tying a record set in 1985 for most in a season -- all within eight days of each other. Before this season, the previous smallest margin of time between perfect games was 1982 (Debbie Doom vs. Wyoming on May 15 and Tracy Compton/Debbie Doom combined vs. Western Michigan on May 29).
Faraimo ranks second all-time in UCLA history in both solo perfect games with three and total perfect games (including combined) with four. Debbie Doom is first with five solo and six total perfectos, respectively. 

Kinsley Washington as named a top-20 candidate for the 2022 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year award, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education announced Friday. In addition to their athletic ability, the students named 2022 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars are students of color who have maintained a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.5 and have been active on their campuses or in their communities. Of the nearly 1,000 scholar-athletes nominated, one male and one female athlete will be selected as Sports Scholar of the Year. Washington, a redshirt senior first baseman for the UCLA softball team, has been a fixture in the Bruins' infield and lineup in each of the past four seasons. This year, Washington is off to the best start of her career with a team-leading .425 batting average, 34 hits and a Pac-12-best 31 runs as the Bruins' leadoff hitter in their 27 games to open the season. Washington has played a role in a bevy of community service activities during her five years in Westwood. She has volunteered with UCLA softball legend Natasha Watley and her nonprofit organization, the Natasha Watley Foundation, to help bring the sport of softball to historically marginalized communities.