Delaney Spaulding hit her second home run in as many games to lead UCLA to a 10-2 win over San Jose State on Saturday. (Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics)
In two games, the UCLA softball team has scored 18 runs with seven home runs. The Bruins have yet to play a full seven-inning game while cruising to Sunday’s NCAA Los Angeles Regional final after they run-ruled San Jose State 10-1 in six innings Saturday.
Delanay Spaulding, Madeline Jelenicki and Brianna Tautalafua each hit two-run homers Saturday while Rachel Garcia added her sixth homer of the season.
Spaulding has a team-high five RBIs in the regional tournament so far.
With Saturday’s win, the Bruins are one victory away from their fourth straight Super Regional. They need one win Sunday against Cal State Fullerton to host next weekend’s Super Regional. The first game is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Easton Stadium with the second at 6:30 p.m. if necessary.
Redshirt freshman Rachel Garcia knocked out her first career postseason appearance and her first no-hitter on the same night.
The ace from Highland High led UCLA to an 8-0, run-rule win over Lehigh on Friday night in UCLA’s regional opener. The Bruins will face San Jose State in the second round Saturday at 2 p.m. at Easton Stadium.
Of Garcia’s 80 total pitches, 54 were strikes as she faced only one batter more than the five-inning minimum. Working with catcher Paige Halstead, Garcia struck out eight, including five of the first seven batters she faced. The only blemish on the perfect game was a hit-by-pitch in the second inning.
“She was dominating today,” head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said.
Delaney Spaulding led the Bruins on offense with three RBIs.
TJ Leaf was lauded for his interview skills as much as anything during the NBA Draft Combine last week. The former UCLA power forward interviewed with 14 teams at the combine and has since worked out with three teams individually.
Rachel Garcia won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award while helping UCLA softball to a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. (Photo courtesy Katie Meyers)
Kelly Inouye-Perez knows great pitchers. The former UCLA catcher and current UCLA softball head coach won three NCAA titles as a player and caught games for Bruin legends Lisa Longaker and Lisa Fernandez who combined for seven first-team All-American honors.
So when Inouye-Perez says her newest ace Rachel Garcia reminds her a bit of Fernandez, it’s not just hyperbole.
“No one really got comfortable in the box with Lisa (Fernandez) pitching,” Inouye-Perez said. “It was her presence and ability to attack hitters really aggressively that put them in that position. Rachel is very similar.”
Garcia is possibly the next great UCLA pitcher as the redshirt freshman leads the Bruins into postseason play this weekend. .
More on Garcia, who will start against Lehigh on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Easton Stadium.