It was a dark day for the #12 UCLA Softball team yesterday as they faced the #5 Oregon in the first game of three in the NCAA Super Regionals as the Ducks defeated the Bruins 8-1 before their home crowd at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.
UCLA had advanced to the Super Regionals after defeating CSU Bakersfield and Cal State Fullerton twice in the NCAA Regionals. The Bruins were then matched up for the Super Regionals with the Oregon Ducks, a well-known foe.
Back in April, UCLA defeated the Ducks 2-1 in a three-game series during the regular season in Eugene, Oregon. But now, the Bruins face elimination in a best-of-three series.
UCLA played the first game of the Super Regionals against Oregon yesterday and were defeated handily. A game mired with errors, inconsistent pitching, and an absent offense for the Bruins led to a decisive 8-1 win for the Ducks after seven innings.
Despite the dominant win for the Ducks, this series is far from over for the Bruins. Amidst a disappointing game, it was clear that UCLA was simply off. In a game where everything that could go wrong, everything went really wrong. Oregon put six runs on the board in almost a blink of an eye in the third inning, including a two-run home run by Janelle Lindvall.
The only time the Bruins’ offense seemed to be taking off happened when Madeline Jelenicki scored for the Bruins, but freshman Paige Halstead was called out to end the inning after she reached first and seemed to be headed for the dugout.
This error by the freshman was likely a miscount, leading her to believe that the inning was over. Although Halstead tried to come back to the base, the first-base umpire seemed to indicate that Halstead’s action of taking her helmet off was the reason behind the strange call.
The Bruins will face Oregon today at 4 p.m. PST, and if necessary, the third game will be played at 7 p.m. PST, both games will air on ESPN2. UCLA will need to beat Oregon twice in a row in order to punch a ticket to the College World Series in Oklahoma City.
If the Bruins can get past the Ducks, they will next face the winner between #4 Auburn and Arizona. The Wildcats advanced to the Super Regionals after defeating #13 Tennessee, and they are currently leading the series against Auburn 1-0. If the Wildcats punch their ticket to the CWS, Arizona will be an extraordinary opponent given their success versus seeded teams. However, UCLA defeated the Wildcats 2-1 in a three-game series during Pac-12 play in April.
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Stay tuned today as the Bruins go duck hunting to stay alive on their quest to 114.