Skip to main content

UCLA Softball Sweeps Duke to Clinch Women’s College World Series Berth

The Bruins are headed to Oklahoma City for the seventh-straight season and NCAA-record 31st time in program history.

Delanie Wisz had already delivered her team the go-ahead RBI and a key inning-ending assist, putting the Bruins in position to eke out a tight postseason victory Saturday night.

She wasn't done just yet, though.

In what turned out to be the final at-bat of her career at Easton Stadium, the former LMU transfer rocketed a bases-loaded double deep to center field, tacking on the insurance her team needed to comfortably punch their ticket to Oklahoma City.

"For this to be my last game at Easton, it's kinda sad," Wisz said. "But it's a bittersweet moment knowing that this is what got us back to OKC."

No. 5 seed UCLA softball (48-8, 19-5 Pac-12) took care of business against No. 12 seed Duke (44-11, 19-3 ACC), closing out the sweep in the NCAA Super Regionals with an 8-2 victory at home. The Bruins will be going to their seventh-consecutive Women's College World Series as a result of the win and Wisz's timely hitting, extending their NCAA-record number of appearances to 31.

"It never gets old for me," said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez.

Wisz ended the night 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, while sophomore center fielder Maya Brady was an early anchor for the Bruins at the dish, finishing 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Brady led off the second with a single, eventually coming around to score on a sac fly by freshman right fielder Savannah Pola. The next time Brady stepped into the batter's box, the score was still 1-0 in the fourth, as the Bruins went down 1-2-3 in the first and third innings when she didn't get an at-bat.

Brady continued to buoy the Bruins' offense by launching a line drive over the left field wall, and her 13th homer of the year doubled their lead.

"As Coach I said, she told me today was gonna be my day," Brady said. "I knew that I just had to have faith in kind of the entire season that I have behind my back and just rely on the experience that I've had."

The Blue Devils finally got their offense involved in the bottom of that frame, starting things off with a single that snapped senior pitcher Holly Azevedo's perfect game. After recovering to record two consecutive outs, Azevedo gave up the game-tying, two-run home run to Caroline Jacobsen.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Redshirt sophomore Seneca Curo stepped in as a pinch-hitter to lead off the very next inning, and she reached on a single up the middle. Junior Kelli Godin came back in as a pinch-runner and stole third, then came around to score on a double by Wisz.

"Delanie, I mean, the girl is on fire," Inouye-Perez said. "Literally, she epitomizes just being clutch under pressure."

Brady nearly drove in her second run of the day on a single to right, but Wisz was called out after a controversial review of the play at the plate.

UCLA's staff elected to swap Azevedo out for junior Megan Faraimo to hold the newfound lead, and she breezed through the fifth with a 1-2-3 inning and two strikeouts. The Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year ran into trouble when she came back out for the sixth, giving up a walk and single before even getting an out, but she struck out back-to-back batters to regain control.

With runners on the corners, the Blue Devils sent the runner on first to second, trying to get the go-ahead run into scoring position without much resistance. Wisz – who moved to catcher when Faraimo entered the game – stood up and fired the ball to junior second baseman Anna Vines and caught the runner stealing, ending the inning with a bang that sparked a swarm of celebrating Bruins coming off the field.

Three infield singles – including a leadoff one by Godin that required an overturned call via review – loaded the bases for Wisz in the seventh, and that's when she converted with her two-RBI double. Brady reached on a fielder's choice that added another insurance run, and UCLA would scratch across two more to balloon the lead to six.

It was essentially a formality from then on out, and Faraimo closed things out with a scoreless seventh to get the celebration started.

"Playing in such a historically successful program like UCLA, you're almost expected to be in OKC every year, but obviously nothing's guaranteed," Brady said. "It's so special every time, no matter which school you go to."

Follow Connon on Twitter at @SamConnon
Follow All Bruins on Twitter at @SI_AllBruins
Like All Bruins on Facebook at @SI.AllBruins
Subscribe to All Bruins on YouTube

Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins on Sports Illustrated
Read more UCLA softball stories: UCLA Softball on Sports Illustrated

PHOTO COURTESY OF ROSS TURTELTAUB/UCLA ATHLETICS