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Holly Azevedo's Gem Sends UCLA Softball to NCAA Super Regionals, Knocks Out Ole Miss

The redshirt senior was one out away from tossing the Bruins' first solo postseason no-hitter in five years, but her performance still help secure the win.

With two down in the fifth, Holly Azevedo stood in the circle looking to make history.

The win wasn't at stake – the Bruins had already more than locked that up and set themselves up for an early finish via run rule. Azevedo was just one out away from tossing the 14th no-hitter in UCLA postseason history, and their first of the solo variety since 2017.

Azevedo walked the batter – no matter, her perfect game had already been broken up by a walk in the second. The next Rebel up grounded one right at senior shortstop Briana Perez, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, to seemingly end the game.

The ball bounced off Perez's glove, though, so the inning and no-hit bid lived on.

The Rebels took advantage, grounding a single through the right side to finally snap Azevedo's no-no. The runner from second also came around to score, narrowly jumping out of the way to dodge the tag at the plate and end the shutout simultaneously.

Despite having to head back into the dugout before the job was finished, Azevedo had done more than enough to lift the Bruins to the NCAA Super Regionals for the eighth-consecutive season.

"I think a lot of times, we get down on ourselves and we wanna say 'Oh, what ifs,' and all that stuff," Azevedo said. "Honestly, at the end of the day, we got the win, we advanced to the Super Regionals, so I'm just happy about that."

Junior pitcher Megan Faraimo came in and picked up the game-ending strikeout, closing out the 9-1 victory for No. 5 seed UCLA softball (46-8, 19-5 Pac-12) over Ole Miss (41-19, 12-12 SEC). Azevedo earned the win in the box score, tossing 4.2 innings and striking out four in the final contest of the Los Angeles Regional.

Azevedo was working with plenty of wiggle room throughout, as UCLA's offense gifted her a multi-run cushion right off the bat.

Senior first baseman Kinsley Washington led things off with a single in the first before stealing second, then senior third baseman Delanie Wisz and sophomore center fielder Maya Brady hit back-to-back RBI doubles. Sophomore catcher Alyssa Garcia fired a comebacker at the pitcher to bring Brady in to score, and junior second baseman Anna Vines singled through the right side to drive in two more.

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UCLA batted through the entire order in the top of the first alone, going up 5-0 as a result.

"Just couldn't be more proud of our ability to be locked on from the very start," said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. "Sent a big statement that we were here to play and then didn't let up."

After Brady came around to score again in the third – this time on a deep double by freshman right fielder Savannah Pola – Faraimo drew a walk to give the Bruins another baserunner to work with. Vines did most of the heavy lifting to bring them across, though, crushing her first home run of the season to straightaway center.

That gave Vines five RBIs on the day, while no other UCLA batter had more than one.

"It's definitely a good feeling, especially going into home with all my teammates," Vines said. "But to be honest, it's just good to help our team win."

Vines played an integral role in the field as well, serving as the middle man in a 5-4-3 double play sparked by Wisz in the hot corner to get Azevedo out of the second still having only faced the minimum.

Junior left fielder Kelli Godin also did her best to preserve the no-hitter while it was still alive, ranging all the way over to the foul line to snag a line drive for the second out of the fifth.

While that no-hitter didn't last, the Bruins still swarmed their own home field in celebration when Faraimo slammed the door shut. UCLA will get another chance to etch some more postseason lore when the Super Regionals get underway against Duke at Easton Stadium next weekend.

"I'm gonna credit the program – it's been over 30 years of UCLA softball with the highest expectations," Inouye-Perez said. "It's not about me, or even this current team, it's about the history of the program, and the standard is high."

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