Five-Run Sixth Inning Pushes Bruins Past Lions
LOS ANGELES – The No. 5-seed UCLA softball team used a five-run sixth inning to push past Loyola Marymount for a 7-1 win at Easton Stadium Saturday, earning the right to play for the Los Angeles Regional championship in the process.
Kelli Godin collected a game-high three hits and scored a run for the Bruins (45-8). Alyssa Garcia, Thessa Malau'ulu and Briana Perez tallied two hits apiece, with a two-run Perez single in the sixth breaking the game open.
Megan Faraimo improved to 21-4, tossing a complete game. The Lions (37-16) managed one first-inning run on a Megan Dedrick home run. Faraimo surrendered four total hits and walked none, striking out eight.
"First and foremost, so much credit to LMU," said the Shelly Carlin UCLA Head Softball Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. "I just saw Tairia (Flowers), and she has flipped that program. Very tough, both parts of the game. They don't give up. And we had to change up a little bit of our strategy to figure out a way to win today. But it was a big one, and I'm very proud of our team's ability to adjust and be able to continue to fight. Megan (Faraimo) got stronger, as you saw, throughout the game, but ultimately it was a team win today. A lot of different players contributed, and it's a big one. To be able to get to the championship is what it's all about. I'm very proud of the team win today."
UCLA will face the winner of Saturday's final game between LMU and Grand Canyon or Ole Miss. First pitch Sunday is set for 3 p.m. PT. on the ESPN Family of Networks. If necessary, a second game will be played at 5:30 p.m. PT.
With one out in the top of the first inning, Briana Perez tripled down the right-field line. She was stranded by Jenna Perez, though, as Delanie Wisz and Maya Brady were retired. The Lions got on the board first in the bottom half, as Megan Dedrick barely cleared Godin's glove and the left-field wall.
The Bruins loaded the bases with nobody out in their second inning at the plate. They would scratch across one run on a walk to pinch hitter Faraimo, but Jenna Perez staved off any more damage. Faraimo then returned to the mound, where she logged a 1-2-3 inning that included two strikeouts. Jenna Perez (18-7) took the loss for LMU. She gave up six earned runs on eight hits, walking five and striking out three in 5.1 innings.
Jenna Perez bounced back from her rocky second by retiring the side in order her next time in the circle. A diving grab by Jasmine Sofowora in left field went for the third out. Faraimo took care of the Lions consecutively in the bottom of the inning without allowing the ball to leave the infield.
Back-to-back singles by Malau'ulu and Godin came with two outs, but a Kinsley Washington line drive was snagged by Dedrick to end the top of the fourth. LMU put two on with two outs in its own half of the inning, but was also unable to capitalize.
Another potential two-out rally was nixed by the Lions in the top of the fifth, as Brady was stranded after getting on with a four-pitch walk. Once again, two Lions reached with two down in the bottom of the inning, but Dedrick flew out to Brady for the third out.
UCLA broke through in the sixth, as Washington worked a one-out walk for the first run since the second inning. Briana Perez then stepped to the plate and knocked a single up the middle for two more. Savannah Hooks then relieved Jenna Perez, but a subsequent wild pitch allowed Washington to come home. It ultimately became a five-run frame when Briana Perez tagged and scored from third on a Wisz foul out, making it 6-1. Faraimo pitched a shutdown bottom of half of the inning against LMU's 4-5-6 hitters to send the game to the seventh.
The Bruins tacked on an additional run in their final at bats, with Anna Vines scoring on a Godin single and throwing error. Faraimo's fourth 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon followed, closing the door on the Lions.