#17 UCLA Softball 2014 Preview

UCLA Bruins

Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #4 Pac 12
#17 UCLA Softball 2014 Preview
UCLA Team Page


The Bruins are coming off of another disappointing season, in which they lost in the Regional round for the third year in a row. Last year, the team was ousted by UAB in the Louisville Regional. The Bruins battled back from a first-game loss to UAB to make it all the way to the do-or-die game against the Blazers, a game they lost 3-2 in 13 innings. Along the way to the deciding game, the team pounded the host Cardinals 19-2. The 2014 UCLA squad is pretty much equally distributed between upperclassmen and underclassmen, with 11 juniors and seniors making up the 20-women roster. The team also brings in two players who were on the College Sports Madness' Top 60 freshmen. Last year's team was a power machine, hitting an impressive 88 long balls.

2013: 40-20, 10-14
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kelly Inouye-Perez

Field Players:
UCLA brings back two of its big power hitters, Ally Carda (18 home runs) and Stephany LaRosa (15 homers), while losing B.B. Bates, who hit a team-high 25 bombs. LaRosa put up numbers that were impressive, not only because of the home runs. She finished second on the team in average with a .370 clip, while pounding out a team-leading 74 hits, 11 doubles, four triples and 52 RBIs. For a power hitter, LaRosa has impressive plate discipline, having struck out only 14 times last season in 200 at-bats. Carda put up impressive stats herself, having hit .339 with the 18 home runs and 50 RBIs. Like LaRosa, Carda has a good eye at the plate, having struck out only 18 times, while walking 31 times.

The Bruins return three pitchers that pitched every inning for the squad last year. As well as being an offensive force, Carda is also the team's ace, having started 27 games of the 46 she appeared and finished with 23 wins, a 2.30 ERA and 217 strikeouts, all team-highs. Jessica Hall, who like Carda doubles as a player who plays in the field or the DP position, finished second with 11 wins and Paige McDuffee won six games.  

Who to Watch:
Carda, LaRosa and whoever ends up replacing Bates. Replacing Bates' 25 home runs, 14 doubles, 74 RBI and 71 hits is no small task. LaRosa and Carda were the other big boppers, but will they be able to keep up the power?  LaRosa has maintained it throughout her two years, but Carda saw a jump of 14 home runs from 2012 to 2013. Will she be able to keep up those numbers? But who takes Bates' spot?

Final Projection:
The Bruins are going to be talented again and the return of all three pitchers should allow them to find out how to fill the huge hole that Bates' departure leaves. Heralded freshman Delaney Spaulding comes to the Bruins after hitting .511 last year with ten home runs and 36 RBIs. She also had 13 home runs and 49 RBI her junior year, so she brings more offensive power to Westwood. UCLA didn't shy away from playing any top teams this year as it starts off with Hawaii, before playing Oklahoma, Missouri, and Nebraska as part of the Cathedral Classic. Other big non-conference games include two matchups with Michigan and one each with Louisville, Northwestern and Illinois.  

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Stephanie LaRosa, IF, 200
Hits: Stephanie LaRosa, IF, 74
Home Runs: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 18
RBIs: Stephanie LaRosa, IF, 52
Runs: Stephanie LaRosa, IF, 52
Stolen Bases: Allexis Bennett, OF, 16

Wins: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 23
Innings Pitched: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 206.2
Strikeouts: Ally Carda, P/UTL, 217
Saves: Jessica Hall, P, 3

Madness 2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#19 Delaney Spaulding
#58 Gabrielle Maurice


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