LOS ANGELES - Bruin pitchers did not allow an earned run on Wednesday, as senior Jessica Hall struck out nine in the game one win, while junior Courtney Rivera was victorious in her collegiate debut in the nightcap, as top-ranked UCLA defeated UC Santa Barbara 5-1 and 9-1 in five innings at Easton Stadium. Junior Stephany LaRosa homered in both ends of the twinbill.
The Bruins improve to 30-2 overall, while the Gauchos fall to 20-10.
In game one, Hall gave up an unearned run, two hits and two walks in seven innings to improve to 10-1 on the season. Four of her nine strikeouts came in the first inning after the third punchout reached on a passed ball. The senior also fanned one in each of the other frames except the sixth, recording 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth. At the plate, six different Bruins accounted for the team's hits.
After four scoreless innings, with the Bruins leaving a pair on in both the third and fourth, UCLA broke through with three runs in the fifth. Sophomore Allexis Bennett opened the inning with a bunt that was thrown into right field by UCSB pitcher Shelby Wisdom, allowing Bennett to reach second. After a sacrifice by junior Ally Carda moved Bennett to third, she scored on a single through the 5-6 hole off the bat of freshman Delaney Spaulding to make it 1-0. LaRosa followed by belting a 1-0 pitch out to left-center, her fifth of the season, to extend the lead to 3-0.
In the sixth, UCLA added two more. Freshman Gabrielle Maurice was hit to open the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice from sophomore Brittany Moeai. Hall followed with a single through the left side to get Maurice to third, and when UCSB left fielder Kristen Clark bobbled it, Maurice came home with UCLA's fourth run. Hall advanced to second on the error and was pinch-run for by freshman Robyn Corruth, who moved to third on a wild pitch and scored one out later on a Carda double to left-center to make it 5-0.
The Gauchos broke the shutout in the seventh. Lauren Boser reached on a fielding error by Spaulding at short to start the inning and was pinch-run for by Jaqueline Hinojosa, who moved to second two outs later on a passed ball and scored on a single to right by Jenessa Jeppesen.
In game two, Rivera made her Bruin debut and was outstanding to earn her first career win. She struck out one in four innings, giving up an unearned run, four hits and no walks. Rivera had a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, ending the frame with her first career strikeout. Hall tossed the fifth and gave up a walk in an inning of shutout relief.
UCLA recorded 12 hits, with eight different players posting at least one. LaRosa was 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBI, while Spaulding and freshman Jelly Felix added two hits apiece.
The Bruins scored a pair in their first at-bat. With one out, Spaulding tripled after a diving attempt by UCSB right fielder Jessica Tetzlaff came up empty and scored on a single to left by LaRosa. Sophomore Mysha Sataraka followed with a walk and Corruth came in to run for LaRosa at second. A single to left by Felix plated Corruth to make it 2-0.
UC Santa Barbara cut its deficit in half with an unearned run in the second. MeShalon Moore led off with a single to center, moved to second on a Boser ground out, advanced to third on a Wisdom tapper and scored when Emily Brucelas reached on a fielding error by Sataraka at third to make it 2-1.
The Bruins broke it open with six in the third, scoring four of the runs with two outs. Spaulding singled to left to open the frame and came home on LaRosa's second homer of the day and sixth of the season, sending a line drive over the right-field fence to make it 4-1.
Two outs later, Moeai singled to right and Hall singled to left. Maurice followed with a single up the middle to bring home Moeai with UCLA's fifth run, as Hall and Maurice each moved up a base on the throw home. Bennett then flared a single down the left-field line to score Hall and Maurice to make it 7-1. A Carda double to right-center plated Bennett with UCLA's eighth tally.
UCLA tacked on the mercy rule run in the fourth. LaRosa singled to open the inning and was pinch-run for by junior Jessica Amaral. A walk to Sataraka and a single to left from Felix loaded the bases for Moeai, who blooped a ball into left that landed safely. Amaral scored to make it 9-1, but junior Kaelin Sprawls, who was running for Sataraka, was forced at third after waiting to see if the ball dropped, resulting in a fielder's choice RBI for Moeai.
The Bruins host Utah in a three-game Pac-12 series starting on Friday at 7 p.m. at Easton Stadium. Saturday's contest is at 6 p.m., followed by Sunday at 12 p.m. There will be no television this weekend, but there will be free audio and live stats at UCLABruins.com.