In a Wednesday afternoon road game that was decided by the mercy rule, Cal State Fullerton softball lost to the No. 4 ranked UCLA Bruins for the third time this season, giving them the season sweep. This is the Titans’ fifth-consecutive loss against UCLA, while also snapping a four-game winning streak.
After falling one out shy of upsetting UCLA in game one of its doubleheader back on Feb. 20, Fullerton eyed a win against the Bruins, but that was not the case this time around.
Fullerton struck first on offense in the first inning when freshman infielder Hannah Becerra hit an RBI double, scoring fellow freshman infielder KK Humphreys, who had walked and stolen second to put herself in scoring position. Humphreys is 7-for-7 on stolen base opportunities this season.
Fullerton’s freshman right-hander Savannah Serrata started the game as she did the last time against UCLA, but she immediately found herself in trouble in the first inning against the Bruins’ offense.
UCLA outfielder Bubba Nickles started with a quick leadoff single and advanced to second on a passed ball behind the plate. After a walk, outfielder Aaliyah Jordan hit an RBI single that scored Nickles, tying the game at 1-1 with no outs in the inning, and erasing the only lead for Fullerton.
An RBI double by Maya Brady gave UCLA the lead, and after Serrata hit a Bruin hitter with a pitch to load the bases, infielder Kinsley Washington hit a two-out two RBI double to make it 4-1. CSUF ace Sophie Frost then took over for the freshman and secured the final out of the first inning.
The second inning started with Frost as it did for Serrata, with the leadoff hitter reaching base, this time on a walk by Briana Perez. Another walk set up another potential big inning for UCLA, but Frost rallied for two quick outs before a two-out single allowed Perez to score, extending the Bruins lead to four runs. Fullerton stranded the remaining two baserunners when Frost got Seneca Curo to fly out.
The Bruins offense stirred again in the fourth inning when Jordan hit another leadoff single for UCLA. Lauryn Carter replaced Jordan as a pinch runner and took second on an error. A grounder allowed the runner to advance to third and score when Brady hit a sac fly to left, increasing the lead to 6-1.
Fullerton head coach Kelly Ford decided to pull Frost in the fifth inning for freshman pitcher, Ellie Zellien. The change did little to halt UCLA, as the Bruins put runners on second and third with no outs in the inning. After a grounder scored Washington, Perez hit an RBI double to extend the lead to 8-1.
A pair of walks prompted Ford to make a final pitching change to the right handed pitcher Dani Martinez, though she only saw one batter as an error allowed Perez to score from third, ending the game via mercy rule at 9-1.
Serrata took the loss for Fullerton and is now 3-3 after allowing four earned runs on four hits in 0.2 innings pitched as well as two walks.
UCLA starter Holly Azevedo was the winner and is now 2-0 on the season. She allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out four. Brady led the game with three RBIs, and UCLA tallied 10 hits to Fullerton’s three.
Next for the Titans is a doubleheader against Fresno State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., which is also the start of the three-day Judi Garman Classic. Fullerton will play another doubleheader against San Jose State on Saturday at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. PT, with one final game against Loyola Marymount University on Sunday at noon.