TEMPE, Ariz. - The second-ranked Bruins scored in five of seven innings on Saturday, as freshmen Gabrielle Maurice and Delaney Spaulding each had three hits in UCLA’s 9-2 victory over #3 Arizona State at Farrington Stadium.
The Bruins close the regular season at 48-6 overall and 19-5 in the Pac-12, while the Sun Devils fall to 44-10-1 and 15-7-1 in league play.
Junior Ally Carda improved to 29-4 on the year, striking out four in 4 2/3 innings of shutout relief, allowing only a hit and three walks. She retired the first nine batters she faced. Senior Jessica Hall started and gave up two runs, three hits and a walk in 1/3 of an inning, while freshman Paige McDuffee tossed two scoreless frames of relief, striking out two and walking two.
UCLA scored an early unearned run in the top of the first. Carda walked and Spaulding got her to third on a double to left-center. One out later, sophomore Mysha Sataraka grounded a ball to third, but Arizona State’s Haley Steele bobbled it, allowing Carda to score the game’s first run.
Arizona State came back with a pair in the bottom of the first. Bailey Wigness slapped a single to the second-base bag and came home on a long ball by Cheyenne Coyle to make it 2-1.
UCLA equaled things in the top of the second. With one out, Goulder reached on an infield single to third and Bennett singled to center. After a Carda ground out to second moved both runners up, Spaulding singled to the 5-6 hole to plate Goulder with the game-tying run.
The Bruins re-took the lead with three in the third. Sataraka led off with a single to left-center, and one out later, Hall drew a walk. Maurice followed with a single through the right side to bring in Sataraka to make it 3-2. Goulder then tapped a ball to short, but Coyle missed the tag of Hall running by her to load the bases for Bennett, who singled up the middle to score Hall with the Bruins’ fourth run. A bases-loaded walk to Carda forced home Maurice to make it 5-2.
UCLA tacked on two more in the fourth. Tiumalu hit her fifth homer of the season to left-center to put the Bruins up 6-2. One out later, Maurice reached on an infield single to third and Goulder drove her in with a triple to center to make it 7-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Sun Devils loaded the bases on walks to Wigness, Coyle and Steele, but Carda retired Alix Johnson on a grounder to second to end the threat.
In the seventh, the Bruins hit their second homer of the game, as Spaulding went deep to center with Carda aboard following a walk to make it 9-2.
The Bruins find out where their postseason journey begins on Sunday. You can start following the selection show online at twitter.com/ncaasoftball and twitter.com/espnu, as both handles will reveal the top four seeds for the NCAA Tournament at 6:30 p.m. Then flip over to your television, as ESPNU airs the one-hour NCAA Selection Show at 7 p.m.