#6 UCLA Softball 2015 Preview

UCLA Bruins

Overall Rank: #6
Conference Rank: #2 Pac-12
#6 UCLA Softball 2015 Preview
UCLA Team Page


UCLA heads into a critical 2015 season in the tenure of head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. The Bruins once again failed to make it to Oklahoma City last season falling at home to Kentucky in the Super Regionals. With just one national championship back in 2010 and zero appearances in the Women’s College World Series since 2010 under Inouye-Perez’s leadership, the natives in Westwood are definitely getting restless. Thus, if they miss going to Oklahoma City for a 5th straight year, the Bruins will probably have a new coach in 2016.

2014: 52-8, 19-5
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kelly Inouye-Perez

Field Players:
Scoring runs is never a problem for the Bruins and the core of the lineup returns this season. Infielder Mysha Sataraka leads a very balanced and powerful offensive attack for UCLA. Sataraka hit 16 homeruns, while driving in 55 runs. Ally Carda picks herself up at the plate to balance her dominating pitching as she hit .394 last season, while driving in 55 runs as well. Infielder Delaney Spaulding is the speed demon that sets the tone for the rest of the offense. She scored 59 runs and stole 37 bases last season for the Bruins.

Ally Carda will be the number one starter in the circle for UCLA this season. Carda was 32-5 with a 1.90 earned run average in 220.2 innings pitched. She definitely has the ability when she is rolling to dominate hitters and to take the pressure off of her defense. Carda struck out 230 batters while walking just 65. Paige McDuffee will be counted on a great deal to step into the number two starter role to pick up the slack for the lost production from Jessica Hall. McDuffee had a limited role in the circle last season and made just 15 appearances, including eight starts, but was pretty effective, going 3-1 with a 2.38 earned run average. McDuffee’s ability to limit walks like she did a year ago will help her lock down the number two starter spot.

Who to Watch:
Catcher/infielder Stephany LaRosa and outfielder Alexis Bennett will be two key players to watch for the Bruins. LaRosa has a legit shot to get to 20 homeruns if she can play more games this season. She hit 14 homeruns in 52 games while hitting .367 in 2014. Bennett was very productive in her 33 games, hitting .404 with a .448 on-base percentage and 12 stolen bases. If Bennett can play an entire season, she could easily steal 25 or more bases and really ignite the UCLA offense.

Final Projection:
The amount of experience that is returning should be very conducive for the Bruins to be able to deal with a challenging schedule all season long. Texas A&M and Notre Dame visit during the opening weekend of the season as part of the SoCal Collegiate Classic. Northwestern highlights the slate of games for UCLA at the Wilson DeMarini Classic in Las Vegas. The deepest tournament field that the Bruins will face in their non-conference schedule is during the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City when a gauntlet of Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Ohio State, Florida State and Nebraska await in that tournament. Baylor also visits Easton Stadium on March 10th, which will be a litmus test for UCLA as the Bears are coming off a Women’s College World Series appearance. A road trip to Washington in the second weekend of conference play will set the tone for the direction of the Pac-12 season as a veteran team like the Bruins will need to take advantage of the Huskies youth and win at least two of three. The biggest series of the Pac-12 season for UCLA will be April 3-5 against Oregon in what could decide the conference title. If the Bruins can execute offensively and win that series, they should win the league and be a top eight seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Mysha Sataraka, IF, 178
Hits: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 69
Home Runs: Mysha Sataraka, IF, 13
RBIs: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 55; Mysha Sataraka, IF, 55
Runs: Delaney Spaulding, IF, 59
Stolen Bases: Delaney Spaulding, IF, 18

Wins: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 32
Innings Pitched: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 220.2
Strikeouts: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 230
Complete Games: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 18

Madness 2015 NPF Draft Rankings:
#1 Ally Carda
#5 Stephany LaRosa

Madness 2015 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#1 Kylee Perez
#3 Johanna Grauer
#13 Maddy Jelenicki
#35 Selina Ta'amilo


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