Los Angeles, CA – UCLA softball head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez believes the first playoff victory is the biggest to obtain, that proved to be Friday night as the Bruins fended off Sacramento State 3-0 in the first round of the Los Angeles Regional of the Women’s College World Series.
“Sac State, there is a reason they are here. They competed,” said Inouye-Perez. “Their pitcher was effective, they swung their stick with authority and I thought it was a good game.”
The Bruins rallied behind pitcher Rachael Garcia who didn’t allow a hit until the games final inning. Garcia struck out 14 batters and was really able to dominate on the mound by getting ahead in the count on her first pitch.
“It felt great (on getting the victory),” said Garcia. “Especially It being on our home field.”
The Bruin finally broke through on the scoreboard in the fifth inning. Taylor Pack was able to reach base by drawing a walk. A single by Kinsley Washington put Pack in scoring position and senior Kylee Perez did the rest with another single to bring in the games first run.
“We were kind of swinging kind of big in the beginning of the game,” said Perez. “It’s easier said than done to tell us to calm down but by the middle of the game we did calm down.”
Sacramento State made the final inning interesting. With one out, Garcia allowed her first hit, a double to Sydney Rasmussen. Garcia would then strike out the following batter, followed by a pop up.
UCLA moves to 51-4 and will face Cal State Fullerton Saturday 2:00pm in round 2 of the LA Regionals.
The second-seeded Bobcats (42-15) play Sacramento State (31-19) in an elimination game Saturday at 4:30pm
The winner plays the loser of the UCLA-Cal State Fullerton game at 7:00pm