College Softball: No. 12 UCLA tallies mercy-rule win over No. 3 Arizona
LOS ANGELES — After making outs in each of their first eight at-bats, the 12th-ranked Bruins had eight hits in their next 16 at-bats, including a game-ending home run by freshman Bubba Nickles to give UCLA an 8-0, five-inning victory on Friday at Easton Stadium.
The Bruins (38-12, 12-7 Pac-12), who ran their winning streak to nine, had eight hits from seven different players, as sophomore Brianna Tautalafua was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in. In the circle, redshirt freshman Rachel Garcia improved to 16-7, striking out four in five shutout frames, allowing just two hits. She retired the final eight batters of the game, striking out two in the second. Arizona (47-6, 17-5) had just three baserunners for the contest.
UCLA strung together a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Sophomore Zoe Shaw got the Bruins' first hit of the game with a single through the 3-4 hole, senior Delaney Spaulding followed with a single to right to move Shaw to third and junior Kylee Perez doubled down the left-field line to bring home Shaw to make it 1-0. Tautalafua then had a two-bagger to right-center to bring in Spaulding and Perez to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Bruins scored on an error in the fourth. With one out and Gabrielle Maurice on first, the senior stole second and scored when Nickles reached on a two-base error to make it 4-0.
UCLA ended things in the fifth with a four-spot. Perez led off by reaching on an error, moved to second on a single to third by Tautalafua and scored on a single up the middle by junior Madeline Jelenicki to up the lead to 5-0. Two outs later and with two on, Nickles wrapped up the game, launching her ninth homer of the season to left-center to finish off the 8-0 victory.
The Bruins and the Wildcats continue their three-game series on Saturday at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.