Long Beach State softball (26-8) lost both games of a Wednesday doubleheader series against the No. 2 nationally ranked UCLA Bruins (34-3).
“We didn’t play our best today in any category; defensively, in the circle, or offensively. So I think we’re capable of doing better,” head coach Kim Sowder said.
Game one began with three scoreless innings from both teams, with UCLA starting pitcher Rachel Garcia going up against senior Kellie White for the Beach. White has a 13-4 record and 1.66 ERA that is currently second in the Big West Conference.
The fourth inning saw two of UCLA’s top hitters walk and single to put runners on first and second with no outs. The next batter hit a hard liner to Suzy Brookshire at third base, who turned a double play to slow the rally.
In the middle of a full count to UCLA’s Alyssa Garcia, the outfield sprinklers at the LBSU Softball Complex turned on and delayed the game. The first pitch after the delay loaded the bases for the Bruins, but a single to Long Beach’s Breezy Wise resulted in a runner out at home, only allowing a single run to score
Long Beach’s rough defense allowed a walked batter to steal second to put runners on in the fifth inning. A triple and a fielders choice added three more runs to make it 4-0 Bruins.
Since mid-April, Long Beach’s reduced COVID-19 restriction has allowed fans in the stands with player’s families getting first priority. The games were littered with coach-umpire meetings and loud jeers from the stands against the umpiring staff through controversial calls.
A trio of walks in the sixth inning allowed a fielder’s choice to bring in another run for UCLA, but White’s 122nd pitch of the game struck out the final batter to keep the game 5-0.
Long Beach scored a lone run in the seventh inning off an RBI double from Naomi Hernandez. UCLA easily held the score to finish off the 5-1 victory in a two-and-a-half hour game.
RHP Samantha Fowler started game two of the day for Long Beach, striking out the side on 21 pitches in the first inning before UCLA loaded the bases in the second. A walk and a sacrifice fly put UCLA up 2-0 before the Beach could stop the rally.
The Beach’s offense threatened in the bottom half, leaving a runner at third before a lineout ended the inning.
Maya Brady, the sophomore outfielder for UCLA who has received national attention for being the niece of NFL quarterback Tom Brady, hit a single to center field that went under the fielder’s glove to the wall as Brady ran for an inside the park homer in the third inning.
The next batter, Anna Vines, hit a no doubter over the right field fence to make it 5-0 Bruins and chased Fowler out of the game. Freshman Morgan Quinlan came in for relief, throwing a pair of scoreless innings in the third and fourth innings.
Just like game one, Gonzalez and Brookshire came up in the fourth to end the no hitter with a single and a home run by Brookshire that hit the right field foul pole to make it 5-2 Bruins.
UCLA responded with a big rally of five runs, scoring off an RBI single, an RBI bloop single, a wild pitch and two bases-loaded walks. The 10-2 score was too much for the Beach in the bottom of the fifth, who went down in order to end the game by the mercy rule.
“I think this type of competition makes you better and challenges you. We just want to continue to get better and it was a nice opportunity in our bye week to play them,” Sowder said.
Long Beach’s bye week from the Big West Conference continues Saturday, with another chance against a Pac-12 opponent, the University of California Golden Bears, beginning at noon.