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No. 4 UCLA Plays Three at No. 12 Arizona State

May 5, 2022

LOS ANGELES – Second place No. 4 UCLA goes head-to-head with first place No. 12 Arizona State for a three-game series with the Pac-12 title on the line, beginning Friday at 5 p.m. PT at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. Games two and three have first pitch times of 4 p.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.
 
GAME 1: Friday, May 6
Venue: Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium
First Pitch: 5 p.m. PT
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Tracy Warren (PxP), Kenzie Fowler (Analyst)
Live Stats
 
GAME 2: Saturday, May 7
Venue: Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium
First Pitch: 4 p.m. PT
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Tracy Warren (PxP), Kenzie Fowler (Analyst)
Live Stats
 
GAME 3: Sunday, May 8
Venue: Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium
First Pitch: 12 p.m. PT
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Tracy Warren (PxP), Kenzie Fowler (Analyst)
Live Stats

QUICK HITS
• UCLA is 39-6 so far on the year after an 11-2 mark in April
• UCLA has shutout its opponents 18 times this season after blanking Utah twice in last week's series
• The Bruins' pitching staff ranks second nationally with a 1.26 earned run average, trailing only No. 1 Oklahoma (0.74)
• UCLA ranks first in the conference in ERA (1.26), strikeouts (389), K/7 (9.41) and WHIP (0.79)
• The Bruins have won five of their Pac-12 weekend series this year, including four sweeps
• UCLA has struck out 10+ batters in 18 of its 45 games this season, including a season-high 18 versus Tennessee on Feb. 26
• The Shelly Carlin UCLA Head Softball Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez recorded the 700th win of her career at Washington on March 27
• The Bruins opened their conference schedule with a program record 10-0 start
• Megan Faraimo set a new UCLA single-season record for saves with her sixth of the year in game two against Utah (4/30)
• Faraimo, Lauren Shaw and Holly Azevedo have combined to throw six no-hitters, including three perfect games this year
    • UCLA has thrown 6+ no-hitters in a single season five times, last accomplished in 2002
• Shortstop Briana Perez became the fourth member of UCLA's 300 hits club at Oregon State on April 23 (now at 307)
    • She joins her sister Kylee Perez (301), Stacey Nuveman (322) and Natasha Watley (395)

THE WEEK IN REVIEW
UCLA went 3-1 last week, winning a midweek contest versus Cal State Fullerton and the series against Utah.
    • The Bruins recorded 10 base hits to help push across 13 runs in a 13-0 win over Cal State Fullerton. UCLA has recorded 10+ hits in 12 games so far this season. Four Bruins recorded multi-RBI performances: Kinsley Washington, Maya Brady, Anna Vines and Briana Perez.
    • UCLA opened the Utah series with two dominant performances in the circle from Megan Faraimo and Holly Azevedo. Faraimo allowed just two hits, struck out nine and went the distance to pick up her fourth shutout of the season in a 2-0 victory. Azevedo followed with just one hit and four strikeouts in 6.1 scoreless innings to earn the 1-0 victory.
    • Briana Perez scored UCLA's only run in game two: an inside-the-park homer that ricochetted off the top of the center field wall into a Bermuda Triangle of defenders in the outfield. It was her ninth home run of the season.
    • UCLA was mercy ruled for the first time in five years by a score of 8-0 in the Utah series finale (last occurred on Feb. 24, 2017 in 10-1 loss to Oklahoma in five innings). It was the Bruins' first time being mercy ruled at Easton Stadium since March 24, 2016 in a 9-0 loss to Washington in six innings. The game also marked the first time UCLA had been shutout all season.

FARAIMO, AZEVEDO NAMED FINALISTS FOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
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.

SISTER GREATNESS
Briana and Kylee Perez (2015-2018) are just the second NCAA Division I sister duo to each record 300 career hits, joining Sydney Romero from Oklahoma and Sierra Romero from Michigan. They are the only sister duo to each record 300 career hits for the same program. Briana homered on the ninth pitch of her at-bat to leadoff game three against Oregon State to surpass her sister's career 301 hits mark.

PEREZ IN THE RECORD BROOKS
• Perez needs one run to tie and two to surpass Natasha Watley (252) for UCLA's career runs scored crown. Perez leads the Bruins with 37 runs this season. 
• 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 needs three more triples to tie Janice Parks and Natasha Watley for first place with 21.

SCHUTT SPORTS/NFCA FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR TOP 25 FINALIST
Freshman Savannah Pola was named as one of the 25 student-athletes in the running for 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year, the Association revealed on Thursday afternoon. Pola is UCLA's seventh honoree to make the top 25 list. The last Bruin to win the award was Rachel Garcia in 2017. Previous Bruins to be selected to the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Top 25 include Megan Faraimo (2019 – Top 10), Kelli Godin (2019 – Top 10), Aaliyah Jordan (2018 – Top 10), Briana Perez (2018), Rachel Garcia (2017 – Winner) and Delaney Spaulding (2014). This season, Pola leads Pac-12 freshmen with 13 doubles as well as ranks fourth on the team with a .336 batting average and third with 36 RBI. She owns the Bruins' best single-game RBI performance so far this year coming against Texas A&M on March 5 when she racked up six RBI in her 3-for-4 night featuring a solo homer and two doubles. Pola has recorded 11 multi-hit and nine multi-RBI performances, good for fourth-best and second-best on the squad, respectively. Pola has also homered five times this season. 

WISZARD OF WESTWOOD
• Delanie Wisz's 33-game reached base safely streak was snapped in game two of the Utah series last week.
• Wisz is sporting a Pac-12 best .444 batting average and .569 on-base percentage in conference play this season.
• In Pac-12 play, Wisz leads the Bruins with four home runs, 10 walks and 13 RBI (next closest is Seneca Curo with 7 RBI).
• In Pac-12 play, Wisz leads UCLA with a .563 batting average with runners in scoring position.
• Wisz's seven 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. Here is a list of Wisz's clutch Pac-12 knocks:
    • Game 1 at Oregon State (4/22): Solo homer and a go-ahead 2-RBI double on a 3-2 count with two outs in top of seventh
    • Game 1 at Stanford (4/8): Go-ahead solo homer to dead center in eighth inning to help UCLA to 3-1 extra-innings W
    • Game 3 at Washington (3/27): Solo homer in the seventh proved to be the winning run in UCLA's 5-4 triumph
    • Game 2 vs. Oregon (4/2): UCLA rode her two-run homer in the first inning and RBI single to 5-2 victory

PICK YOUR POISON
The top three ERA leaders in the Pac-12 are all Bruins: Lauren Shaw (0.72), Holly Azevedo (1.31) and Megan Faraimo (1.46). Faraimo and Azevedo rank first and second in K/7 rate at 11.13 and 8.85, respectively (min. 75 IP).

BRUINS IN THE RANKINGS AND VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
UCLA is one of just three 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 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.

YEAR OF THE NO-NO
UCLA has recorded six no-hitters, three of which have been perfect games, for the fifth time in a single season in UCLA history.
    • Holly Azevedo threw her second no-hitter of the season and of her career in game two of the Arizona series on 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 NAMED TO ARTHUR ASHE JR. SPORTS SCHOLAR TOP 20
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 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.