Culver City Observer -

By Steve Finley
Sports Reporter 

UCLA softball Shoots for Another Championship

 

George Lasse

The UCLA Bruins celebrate the first of Taylor Pack's two home runs as they swept James Madison University 6-1 and 7-2 in the softball Super Regionals and earn a trip to Oklahoma City for the College World Series which starts this week. The Bruins are the No. 2 ranked team in the nation.

The UCLA softball team is headed back to the College Softball World Series for the fifth straight year after they beat James Madison University two games to none in a best of three game series last weekend in Westwood. In the final game last Saturday the Bruins pounded out 10 hits, including two home runs by Taylor Pack to beat the Dukes 7-2.

Their first game in the College World Series was played last Thursday against Minnesota in Oklahoma City in the double elimination tournament. If the 51-6 Bruins win that game they will play the winner of the Washington and Arizona game on Friday at 4 p.m. If they lose they will face the loser of the Washington and Arizona game on Saturday at 9 a.m.

The Bruins go into this weekend's games with a combination of talent and chemistry. They will need that combination because they will be competing against seven other outstanding teams. Two weeks ago there were 64 teams in the tournament, now eight teams will battle for the NCAA Championship.

"I have a superstar roster of players and it would be easy for everyone to get caught up in themselves, but they are just the opposite," said UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez after their win last Saturday. "Our culture is team over self. This team trusts each other."

George Lasse

UCLA third baseman, senior Brianna Tautalafua gets ready to throw out a James Madison runner for the last out of the game last Saturday in the NCAA softball Super Regionals at UCLA. The 7-2 win helped the Bruins advanced to the College Softball World Series this week.

The Bruins have won 12 championships since 1982 but they have not won a title since 2010. One of the main reasons is pitching. To reach the top you need more than one good pitcher. The past four years the Bruins have relied on one solid pitcher. This year they have one outstanding pitcher in Rachel Garcia and two good pitchers in Megan Faraimo and Holly Azevedo.

"We set out with a goal at the beginning of the year to be at our best when our best is needed," said Inouye-Perez. "I feel like we have played our best softball the last few days but our best is yet to come. Our ability to adjust in the post season is huge. We have committed athletes with talent."

The talent starts with the College Softball Player of the Year, Garcia. Her pitching and hitting has been excellent all season. The Bruins also rely on Briana Perez, Kelli Godin, Kinsley Washington, Bubba Nickles, Pack and Aaliyah Jordan for offense.

The team that wins the College World Series will need to hit, pitch, play great defense and not make on the field errors and mental mistakes. The Bruins have a team that can get the job done.

 

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