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Megan Faraimo, Delanie Wisz lead UCLA past Northwestern in Women's College World Series elimination game

Jun 3, 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY — Megan Faraimo says there are two choices after failure: to crumble or come back.

We know which one she chose.

A day after getting roughed up in her first Women's College World Series start, Faraimo followed it up with one of the best outings of her career.

The redshirt junior allowed just one run in a complete-game effort, striking out 10 Northwestern Wildcats as No. 5 UCLA staved off elimination with a 6-1 win.

"When Megan's back is against the wall, that's when the fiercest competitor comes out," said catcher Delanie Wisz. "She's just a straight dog."

It showed in the fifth inning when UCLA's season was on the edge. A bloop single to left brought Northwestern within one with two runners still in scoring position.

Faraimo walked Skyler Shellmyer to load the bases for Rachel Lewis, one of the top hitters in the country.

Faraimo fell behind 3-0 in the count, but still didn't crumble. She fired three straight strikes, getting Lewis looking with a pitch on the inside corner, to preserve a 2-1 lead.

A huge fist pump followed.

"I just told myself to throw strikes because I felt like no matter what, whether she gets a hit, whether I get her, my team was going to have my back either way," Faraimo said.

Or, if you're Faraimo, you can pick yourself up.

She slugged a solo homer to left to lead off the sixth to push UCLA's lead back to two. It was just her 62nd at-bat of the season and second long ball. But in true Faraimo fashion, it came in a big moment.

"Hitting is so hard," she said, "but every time I go up to bat, I just try to have a quality at-bat. For me that looks like I'm really going to see the ball in, do whatever I can to get on base. I don't care what it looks like. I just want to be able to do that for my teammates."

Wisz was the other star of the night, continuing her torrid postseason by opening the scoring with a line drive RBI single in the first. She also singled to lead off the seventh to ignite a three-run inning, which put the game well out of reach.

Head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez compared Wisz's clutch at-bats to former UCLA greats (and Olympians) Rachel Garcia and Bubba Nickles.

"Lanie is going down as one of those hitters that has the ability to come through in critical moments," Inouye-Perez said. "She is a tough out. She even owned it right when we got in, first and second, you know, she kind of got too big. That hasn't been her. Then you see her make an adjustment again and come back. That's just higher level hitting. She's mature. She's committed. I love how the game is paying her back."

The Bruins will face the loser of No. 7 Oklahoma State-No. 14 Florida in another elimination game Sunday at 12 p.m. PT on ABC. They know they have an uphill battle to reach the championship series, but they have two options: to crumble or come back.

"I've been there before," Inouye-Perez said. "We've lost Game 1, and we've had to come through the loser's bracket to be able to get back to the championship game. We had to beat Cat Osterman twice, which could seem like an impossible feat.

"Clearly the format has changed now, but I'm going to go back to just the word of belief. We got to play the game better. We didn't play great softball yesterday. We own it. We got to show up and play the game one pitch at a time. We have a strong belief we can, it's just more softball. That's what a whole season does. The girls are fit, strong, prepared. We're a little feisty right now. We got our back against the wall, so we're ready to play more ball."