The Bruins have a long history of championship softball unrivaled by any other softball program, including being the only three-peat champion team having won it back-to-back-to-back in,1988,1989 and 1990. Last year UCLA made it to the WCWS semi-finals and looked like they were destined to reach the finals against Washington before eventual 2018 champions Florida State defeated them 3-1 in the first game of the day followed by a 12-6 lost that ended UCLA’s magical season.
Fast forward to this year and the return of most of last years incredible team so expectation are high for the team’s success on the field again this season. Back is red-shirted junior pitcher Rachel Garcia who last year had a record of 29-4 with a ERA of 1.31 and 315 strikeouts. Sophomore Holly Azevedo is also back to anchor down the number two pitching slot. Last year her record was,15-0 with a 2.18 ERA and 88 strikeouts. Freshman Megan Faraimo also will be working to get some pitching time in this season.
The team did lose several players to graduation including, Kylee Perez, Johanna Grauer, Selina Ta’amilo, Jelly Felix and Madeline Jelenicki but should have enough talented players left to be able to overcome the loss of them (Aaliyah Jordan, .429 BA, 12 HR, 67 RBI, Bubba Nickles, .413 BA, 10 HR 52 RBI,Rachel Garcia, . 339 BA, 11 HR 54 RBI, Brianna Tautalafua 8 HR, 35 RBI). They also have some speed on the bases with Briana Perez who went 11-13 in stolen bases. She’ll need to tighten up her fielding though as she also lead the the team in fielding errors with 15. Kinsley Washington (7-8 SBA) and Aaliyah Jordan (6-8 SBA) also have speed on the bases
Even though the team has made consecutive playoff appearances since 2007 they haven’t been able to win a national championship since the 2010 team or a Pac-12 title since 2009. So with most of the puzzle pieces still in place from last years team this years they have a lot of pressure on their shoulders to bring another championship back to Easton Stadium and the Bruin faithful this year.