No. 21 Long Beach State Comes Up Just Short Against No. 3 UCLA, 6-5
Long Beach State played in front of a capacity crowd and nearly pulled off the upset.
Long Beach, Calif. - No. 21 Long Beach State led for the first three innings, and then nearly came back a second time, but No. 3 UCLA remained unbeaten, escaping the LBSU Softball Complex with a 6-5 win over the Beach.
In front of a standing-room only crowd, Long Beach State (19-7) got a lift and took an early lead against the Bruins in the first inning. Junior Nichole Fry walked to start the bottom half, and then stole second base to get into scoring position. That paid off as the shortstop came home on an RBI single from Taylor Rowland, giving the Beach a 1-0 edge.
That would hold for three innings as Cielo Meza kept UCLA (24-0) scoreless, but the Bruins struck in a big way in the fourth inning. After a leadoff single, two hit batters loaded the bases with one out, and then a walk to Julie Rodriguez tied the game at one. A sacrifice fly by Malia Quarles then put UCLA on top 2-1, and back-to-back singles from Kinsley Washington and Briana Perez did the damage as the Bruins took a 5-1 lead.
A leadoff single from Lauren MacLeod, in the bottom of the fourth inning helped the Beach pull one run back. Julia Lombardi followed with another hit, and after moving the runners into scoring position, Fry hit a sacrifice fly to left to cut the lead to 5-2.
Aaliyah Jordan cracked a solo home run in the fifth inning for UCLA, once again making the lead four runs.
Long Beach State would make another push however. MacLeod and Lombardi teamed up again with a walk and a single to put two on, and after an RBI double from Torres, Fry came through again with a single to cut the lead to one at 6-5.
The Beach wasn't able to cash in the tying run however, and Rachel Garcia finished off her complete game in the seventh inning to pick up the win for the Bruins.
Fry was 2-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly, a run scored and 3 RBI in a big day, while Lombardi also had a pair of hits in the loss.
Long Beach State will take a brief break and then be back for two more games at the LBSU Softball Complex this week. The Beach hosts Texas Tech on Wednesday, March 14 and Monmouth on Thursday, March 15. Both games will start at 2 p.m.
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