Sunday, June 16, 2024

UCLA softball opens Super Regional series with shutout of Georgia

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  • UCLA’s Maya Brady, right, celebrates after hitting a home run...

    UCLA’s Maya Brady, right, celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning of Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional against Georgia on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. Brady homered twice and scored three runs in a 8-0 victory that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA starting pitcher Kaitlyn Terry throws to the plate during...

    UCLA starting pitcher Kaitlyn Terry throws to the plate during the first inning of Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional against Georgia on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA shortstop Maya Brady, left, forces out Georgia’s Sydney Chambley...

    UCLA shortstop Maya Brady, left, forces out Georgia’s Sydney Chambley at second base during the first inning of Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA’s Maya Brady, left, crosses home plate during the third...

    UCLA’s Maya Brady, left, crosses home plate during the third inning of Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional against Georgia on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA outfielder Jadelyn Allchin catches a fly ball hit by...

    UCLA outfielder Jadelyn Allchin catches a fly ball hit by Georgia’s Sara Mosley during the second inning of Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA infielder Seneca Curo, right, points to first base after...

    UCLA infielder Seneca Curo, right, points to first base after forcing out Georgia’s Lyndi Rae Davis at second base during the second inning of Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • Georgia infielder Sydney Kuma, left, drops a fly ball during...

    Georgia infielder Sydney Kuma, left, drops a fly ball during Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional against UCLA on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • Georgia outfielder Dallis Goodnight, left, is forced out at second...

    Georgia outfielder Dallis Goodnight, left, is forced out at second base by UCLA infielder Seneca Curo during Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional series on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA’s Taylor Stephens scores during the sixth inning of Game...

    UCLA’s Taylor Stephens scores during the sixth inning of Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional against Georgia on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA’s Savannah Pola dives back safely when Georgia infielder Sydney...

    UCLA’s Savannah Pola dives back safely when Georgia infielder Sydney Kuma can’t make the tag during Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA shortstop Maya Brady, left, congratulates pitcher Kaitlyn Terry during...

    UCLA shortstop Maya Brady, left, congratulates pitcher Kaitlyn Terry during Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional against Georgia on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. UCLA won, 8-0, in a game that was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA players celebrate after they defeated Georgia, 8-0, in Game...

    UCLA players celebrate after they defeated Georgia, 8-0, in Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional series on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. The game was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

  • UCLA players celebrate after they defeated Georgia, 8-0, in Game...

    UCLA players celebrate after they defeated Georgia, 8-0, in Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional series on Thursday night at Easton Stadium. The game was shortened to six innings. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)

LOS ANGELES — Maya Brady homered twice and scored three runs to lead the UCLA softball team to an 8-0 victory over Georgia in six innings on Thursday night in the Los Angeles Super Regional at Easton Stadium.

The sixth-seeded Bruins will continue the best-of-three series with Game 2 against the 11th-seeded Bulldogs on Friday at 7 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, would be Saturday.

“I’ll just say this: Game 1 is always the biggest one,” UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez told reporters after the game. “We’ve got to be able to appreciate tonight, get some rest and come back because I guarantee it’ll be a dogfight tomorrow.”

UCLA freshman lefty Kaitlyn Terry pitched a complete six innings and gave up four hits, with three walks and five strikeouts.

Terry said that taking “debbies,” or deep, exaggerated breaths, before each pitch has helped her stay focused through the pressure of postseason.

“It makes me reset everything,” Terry said, “and just makes me like pitch loose because when I pitch tight, it’s just not good. So honestly, I think taking ‘debbies’ is my biggest thing.”

Brady cracked a solo home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the first inning to get UCLA’s offense started early after the defense held the Bulldogs hitless in the top of the frame.

She went deep a second time when she attacked the second pitch she saw in the bottom of the fifth inning for another leadoff solo home run and her 17th overall this season.

“It’s just literally trying to put my team in the best position to get us a dub at the end of the day or at least a little room against a swinging team like (Georgia),” Brady said. “Everything I do is for my teammates.”

Brady came up with big defensive plays at shortstop throughout the game as well. She made a catch along the third base line to force Georgia’s Jaydyn Goodwin to foul out to end the top of the second inning and turned a quick double play at second base in the fourth.

Inouye-Perez compared Brady’s ability to make plays in the infield to Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson.

“She’s smooth like that,” Inouye-Perez said. “I wanted her at shortstop this year – I wanted her with the young pitching staff to be on the field so that she could communicate and keep the team together. And she has done a phenomenal job.”

Jadelyn Allchin stretched out for a diving catch in left field at the top of the second inning to prevent Sara Mosley from getting on base. UCLA’s outfield played deep all evening against a Georgia offense that features two players who each have 20 home runs this season – No. 4 hitter Mosley and No. 3 hitter Jayda Kearny.

Kearny recorded one hit and Mosley had none on Friday night.

“Momentum is a big deal. We had it at a point in the season and we’ve been battling to get it back for a long time,” Georgia coach Tony Baldwin told reporters. “I like our team, I like our people, I love going to work with them, I love competing with them. We just haven’t been consistent enough to get the ball rolling with momentum on our side.”

Thessa Malau’ulu and Janelle Meoño both grounded out in the bottom of the third inning to bring the top of the batting order back out and also give Brady a chance to get her second big hit of the game.

Brady doubled, then Allchin laced a single down the first base line to score the Pac-12 Player of the Year. The Bruins were able to load the bases when Sharlize Palacios and Megan Grant were both walked, but Jordan Woolery struck out swinging to leave all three runners stranded.

UCLA’s third home run of the evening came in the bottom of the evening and gave the Bruins a 6-0 advantage. Allchin singled and Palacios reached first on an HBP. Gabriela Jaquez, who also plays on UCLA’s women’s basketball team, came in to pinch run for Palacios.

Megan Grant grounded out to move the runners over and Woolery homered to bring them both in.

Savannah Pola ended the game when she singled to right field to push pinch runner Taylor Stephens and Allchin across home plate in the sixth inning.

“We know what Maya Brady can do and she continues to do it and it’s so impressive to watch,” Inouye-Perez said, “but we’re at our best when the bottom half is taking care of it.”

Two homers and a web gem 😮‍💨

All in a day’s work for @UCLASoftball’s Maya Brady.#RoadToWCWS pic.twitter.com/JSEr9Sl6vC

— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) May 24, 2024

A @jordanwooleryy 3 from way downtown!

𝐁𝐀𝐍𝐆.

📺: ESPN2
📲: https://t.co/T5Ovxk6xCw#GoBruins | #LevelUp pic.twitter.com/jqKGAScoY3

— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) May 24, 2024

WALK IT OFF AGAIN, SAVI!!!

ONE WIN AWAY!!!#GoBruins | @savannahpola pic.twitter.com/cc2uWn7bg7

— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) May 24, 2024

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