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UCLA softball leans on experience against Duke in Super Regional – Daily News



This weekend, 12-time national champion UCLA softball will host an NCAA Super Regional and the Bruins, with storied experience in the postseason, will have a first-time opponent Friday.

No. 12 seed Duke is making its first NCAA Super Regional appearance in its fifth year as a program, and it will be doing so at Easton Stadium in Westwood.

“Any time we get to play a team that we’ve never played before, it’s fun,” UCLA redshirt senior shortstop Briana Perez said. “In the Pac-12, we just beat up on each other and we play each other so often. So studying a new opponent and seeing some new faces on the field is exciting.”

The best-of-three series will feature an 8 p.m. game Friday and a 5:30 p.m. game Saturday. A third game, if necessary, will be announced for Sunday.

UCLA wrapped up the NCAA Los Angeles Regional last weekend quickly and easily, outscoring three opponents 28-3 and winning twice via mercy rule in five innings.

Third baseman Delanie Wisz hit a grand slam in the second inning of the opening contest en route to a six-RBI performance. On the season, her .406 batting average leads the team, as well as her 14 home runs, 54 RBIs, 27 walks and .506 on-base percentage.

Wisz, along with Perez, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Anna Vines at second base and Kinsley Washington at first, comprise a quick-thinking infield that backs up a pitching staff that ranks second nationally in ERA at 1.36 and first in the Pac-12 in strikeouts, strikeout-to-walk ration and WHIP.

“We have a goal where for every pitch, we communicate with someone in front of us, to the left of us, to the right of us and behind us,” Wisz said. “So I think as a team we really take pride in our communication.”

Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Megan Faraimo, a redshirt junior, leads an experienced staff that also includes redshirt senior Holly Azevedo.

“They’re both ready to throw,” said Bruins coach Kelly Inouye-Perez, in her 16th season. “The plan is kind of day-to-day, pitch-to-pitch, and a big part of it is we’re studying the opponent to find out how we could best line up our lineup, but I’m in a great place.”

Duke hosted and won the Durham Regional by shutting out UMBC and Liberty University, then falling to Georgia before beating the Bulldogs in the championship game.

The Blue Devils won their first ACC title this season with an offense that produces 1.79 home runs per game, ranking them sixth in the nation in the category. Jameson Kavel holds the program’s single-season record in home runs with 17 and is hitting .387.

Peyton St. George, a graduate student, has taken the lead in the circle for Duke and is 22-3 with a 2.01 ERA.



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