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Beavers Up Next for No. 4 Bruins

Apr 21, 2022
Lauryn Carter (photo by Ross Turteltaub).

LOS ANGELES – The No. 4 UCLA softball team returns to Pac-12 play for a three-game set against Oregon State at Kelly Field in Corvallis, Ore., this weekend. First pitch for game one between the Bruins (33-5, 10-2 Pac-12) and Beavers (31-12, 7-8 Pac-12) is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT on Friday. Games two and three will be played in the afternoon at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday. 

GAME 1: Friday, April 22
Venue: Kelly Field
First Pitch: 7 p.m. PT
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Elise Woodward
Live Stats

GAME 2: Saturday, April 23
Venue: Kelly Field
First Pitch: 3 p.m. PT
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Elise Woodward
Live Stats

GAME 3: Sunday, April 24
Venue: Kelly Field
First Pitch: 12 p.m. PT
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Elise Woodward
Live Stats

UCLA and Oregon State rank within the top two in the conference earned run average, strikeouts, K/7, hits allowed and earned runs allowed. While UCLA boasts the Pac-12 leader in earned run average in Lauren Shaw (0.79) and strikeouts in Megan Faraimo (193), Oregon State has an ace of its own in Mariah Mazon. In 111.1 innings, Mazon (12-5) owns a 0.94 earned run average and has struck out 142 batters – both good for second-best in the conference.

The Bruins dropped their first Pac-12 game and series of the season at Stanford two weeks ago. UCLA saw its 25-game winning streak snapped in game two of the series. The 25 straight W's matched the Shelly Carlin UCLA Head Softball Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez's longest win streak of her career (25 straight victories to open the 2018 season). Prior to the game two loss, the Bruins opened their Pac-12 schedule with a 10-0 record for their best start to conference play in program history. 

Delanie Wisz delivered in the top of the eighth inning of game one with a go-ahead homer for her ninth longball the year. Wisz was the only Bruin to record a hit in each game of the series. An insurance knock from Anna Vines two batters later drove in Maya Brady to help lift UCLA to the 3-1 victory. Stanford's Regan Krause and Alana Vawter proceeded to shut out and hold the Bruins to just six hits over games two and three as UCLA lost 1-0 in both contests.

Earlier this week, Lauren Shaw earned her fifth victory of the season in an 8-1 affair over the San Diego Toreros on April 19. Shaw and Lexi Sosa, who made her first appearance in the circle in over a month, allowed just two hits apiece. Sosa went on to pick her first save of the season with 3.0 innings of shutout ball.

Megan Faraimo and Holly Azevedo were named USA Softball 2022 College Player of the Year Top 25 Finalists on Wednesday. UCLA is the only team in the nation to boast two pitchers on the list. The Bruins are tied for second in representation amongst the top 25 finalists with fellow Pac-12 school Arizona State. Faraimo has now been named a USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 25 Finalist in back-to-back seasons. Stacey Nuveman (2002) and Rachel Garcia (2018, 2019) are the only two Bruins to have won the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award in its 19-year history.

In 2022, Faraimo has collected a 15-1 record with a 1.24 earned run average and a Pac-12-leading 193 strikeouts over 118.2 innings pitched. She has thrown 11 complete games, three shutouts and recorded eight double-digit strikeout performances. Faraimo has thrown three perfect games this season versus Fresno State on March 3 (5 inn.), Pennsylvania on March 10 (combined with Lauren Shaw) and CSU Bakersfield on March 11 (5 inn.). She struck out all 15 batters she faced against the Roadrunners on just 59 pitches. Faraimo ranks second in program history in career perfect games with four trailing only Debbie Doom (6). 

Azevedo owns a 13-2 record and 1.20 earned run average over 75.2 innings pitched this season. Azevedo has established a career-high 103 strikeouts in the last of her five seasons in Westwood and is on pace to set career bests in wins, ERA, innings pitched and opponent batting average. Azevedo has been a part of her fair share of history this season as well tossing the first two no-hitters of her career. Her first no-no of the season came on opening night in a 22-0 win over CSUN on Feb. 10. The second came in game two of the Arizona series on March 20 in which she also set a new career-high in strikeouts with 13. 

Together, the two aces have helped lead UCLA to a 33-5 record and 1.15 earned run average this season which is second-best in the country and first in the conference. The Bruins rank first in the Pac-12 in K/7 (9.60), and Faraimo and Azevedo rank first and second in K/7, respectively, with ratios of 11.38 and 9.53.

Delanie Wisz 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 29 consecutive games which is the fourth longest active streak in the NCAA (Delaney Cumbie –  UNC Greensboro, 38; Mac Barbara – San Diego State, 36; Kiki Milloy – Tennessee, 35). In Pac-12 play, Wisz leads the conference with a .552 batting average and paces the Bruins with 10 RBI, 27 total bases, .667 on-base %, .931 slugging % and a 1.598 OPS. 

Wisz's five 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. Most recently, her solo homer to dead center versus Stanford on April 8 propelled the Bruins to and extra-inning victory. 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. 

Briana Perez is fast approaching UCLA's 300 Hits Club with 298 in her career. Perez would join three other Bruins in Natasha Watley (395), Stacey Nuveman (322) and her sister Kylee Perez (301). Briana needs just three more hits to tie Kylee's career mark.

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's run in the first inning against San Diego on Tuesday put her at 247 runs scored in her career. She needs five runs to tie and six to surpass Natasha Watley (252) for the runs scored crown. Perez leads the Bruins with 33 runs this season.

Lauren Shaw has allowed just four hits in 50 at-bats to left-handed batters all season (.080 opponent batting average vs. lefties).

The top of the Bruins' lineup has been coming through with runners in scoring position with a .451 batting average this season (Briana Perez, Kinsley Washington, Delanie Wisz, Maya Brady and Savannah Pola). Delanie Wisz leads UCLA with a .500 batting average with runners in scoring position (21-for-42).

Briana Perez and Kelli Godin – UCLA's regular first and ninth hitters in the lineup – lead the Bruins in advancing runners when up to the plate. Perez is successful in 34 of her 51 opportunities this season (.667) and Kelli Godin is successful in 28 of her 44 opportunities (.636).

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. 

UCLA is one of just four teams in the nation to be ranked in the top 5 of every National Fastpitch Coaches Association and USA Softball poll this season (others include Oklahoma, Alabama and Florida State). The Bruins are 11-2 against NFCA-ranked opponents this season. UCLA opened its conference schedule by sweeping the three teams picked to finish below them in the Pac-12 Coaches Preseason Poll (all were ranked top 15 by NFCA at the time of competition). The Bruins' three shutouts against then-No. 9 Arizona marked their first time holding the Wildcats scoreless in three straight games since the 1989 and 1990 season.