FULLERTON, Calif. - Sophomore Brittany Moeai had three hits, while freshman Jelly Felix posted two, including a three-run homer which proved to be the difference for the second-ranked Bruins, who defeated Cal State Fullerton 5-2 on Thursday at Anderson Family Field.
The Bruins improve to 35-4 overall, while the Titans fall to 23-15-1.
UCLA had nine hits as a team. In the circle, junior Ally Carda (21-2) got the win, striking out seven in a complete game. She allowed two runs, eight hits and three walks.
The Titans jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, as leadoff hitter Missy Taukeiaho homered to right-center to put the home team on the board.
In the second, the Bruins scored three times on one swing of the bat. With one out, freshman Gabrielle Maurice singled to right and Moeai singled up the middle, setting the stage for Felix, who crushed her third homer of the season just inside the left-field fair pole to put the visitors up 3-1.
After leaving runners at the corners in the third, the Bruins had a chance to get some insurance in the fourth, but were turned away. Moeai doubled down the right-field line to start the inning and was pinch-run for by junior Jessica Amaral. After a walk to Felix, senior Jessica Hall sacrificed Amaral to third and Felix to second. Sophomore Allexis Bennett followed with a high chopper to first, as Fullerton’s Melissa Sechrest came home to force Amaral for the second out of the inning. Bennett then took off for second on a delayed double steal, but Felix was thrown out at home for the last out of the fourth.
In the fifth, UCLA stranded the bases loaded. Freshman Delaney Spaulding and junior Stephany LaRosa drew one-out walks, and one out later, Maurice reached on a base on balls to load them up for Moeai. The sophomore lifted a shallow fly ball to left, which was caught by Leesa Harris, to end the inning.
In the Titans’ half of the fifth, a leadoff walk to Paige Kisling, a throwing error by Carda on a comebacker with Harris at the plate and a single through the left side by Taukeiaho loaded the bases for the home team. But Carda worked her way out of the jam, striking out Ariel Tsuchiyama, popping up Sechrest to short and fanning Gabby Aragon to keep it a 3-1 game.
In the sixth, Felix led things off with a double to left-center and was pinch-run for by junior Tara Mueller. Senior Alyssa Tiumalu walked and junior Sam Duran ran for her, while Carda was hit to load the bases. Spaulding skied a ball to left-center which was caught, but deep enough for Mueller to score to put the Bruins up 4-1. A walk to LaRosa re-loaded the bases for sophomore Mysha Sataraka, who after her at-bat was prolonged due to a dropped foul ball by Sechrest at first, also drew a free pass to force home Duran with UCLA’s fifth run. A pop up to third by Maurice stranded the bases loaded.
After the Bruins left two more in the seventh, the Titans made things interesting in their last ups. Harris led off with a single through the left side, Taukeiaho walked and Tsuchiyama singled through the right side to plate Harris to make it 5-2. Carda struck out Sechrest, while Gabrielle Rodas, running for Tsuchiyama, was forced at second on a grounder to Sataraka at third. The junior then retired Aragon on a foul out to junior Gracie Goulder to end the game.
UCLA is off from game action this weekend and returns to the field on Tuesday, April 15 at Easton Stadium against Cal State Northridge at 3 p.m. Free audio and live stats will be available at UCLABruins.com.