College softball: UCLA squeaks past Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. – The UCLA 3-4-5 hitters combined for all eight runs batted in on Saturday, as senior Mysha Sataraka tied the game in the fifth with a two-run homer and junior Delaney Spaulding put the 14th-ranked Bruins in front with a sixth-inning grand slam in an 8-6 victory over #16 Arizona at Hillenbrand Stadium.
The Bruins improved to 29-12-1 overall and 10-4-1 in Pac-12 play, winning their ninth straight against Arizona, while the Wildcats fell to 31-13 and 8-5 in league action.
UCLA recorded 13 hits from seven different players, as freshman Brianna Tautalafua had three and Sataraka, senior Allexis Bennett, sophomore Madeline Jelenicki and freshman Paige Halstead each posted two apiece.
Sophomore Johanna Grauer (14-8) struck out three in 6 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs (six total), nine hits and two walks. Redshirt junior Paige McDuffee got the final two outs in the game to earn her first save.
After two scoreless innings, the Bruins scored twice in the third with two outs. On a 3-2 pitch with Spaulding going from first, Sataraka hit a double to left-center to bring in the game’s first run. Jelenicki followed with a single up the middle to plate Sataraka to make it 2-0.
Arizona came back with three in its half of the third, with all of the runs being unearned, as the Wildcats scored two on a two-out throwing error and another on an RBI single by Tamara Statman. In the fourth, an RBI single by Ashleigh Hughes brought Arizona’s lead to 4-2.
The Bruins rallied to equal the score in the fifth. Spaulding drew a one-out walk and Sataraka sent her eighth home run of the season off the batter’s eye in center field to square the game at four.
UCLA then took the lead in the sixth. Halstead led off with an infield single to short, with freshman Imani Johnson pinch-running, and freshman Zoe Shaw bounced a single to the shortstop. After a heads-up tag by both Johnson and Shaw on a foul out bunt, sophomore Kylee Perez was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Spaulding, who launched her third grand slam of the season and team-best 11th homer of the year to right-center to put the Bruins up 8-4.
In the bottom of the sixth, a questionable umpire call leading to a UCLA error and a two-run homer cut the advantage to 8-6. Arizona got a pair of runners on with one out in the seventh to bring McDuffee into the game, as she got a fly out and a ground out to end the contest.