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Arizona softball routed by UCLA in Game 1 of Super Regionals

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Taylor McQuillin got roughed up, while Rachel Garcia stymied Arizona’s offense — and hit a two-run homer

FloSports: FloSoftball Mary Nutter 2 Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rachel Garcia can do it all.

The Pac-12 Player of the Year hit a two-run homer and tossed five dominant innings as the No. 3 UCLA Bruins routed the No. 14 Arizona Wildcats 7-1 at Easton Stadium in the first game of Super Regionals.

Arizona (42-15) now has to win Friday to avoid elimination.

The Wildcats knew they were going to face Garcia and prepared all week for her riseball, but to no avail.

The UCLA right-hander struck out eight and allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings, rolling through the Wildcats’ lineup with ease.

Arizona did not put a runner on base until a one-out walk by Reyna Carranco in the fourth. UA’s first hit came two batters later with a two-out single by Jessie Harper. Garcia, who was topping out at a nice 69 MPH, fanned Dejah Mulipola to escape that jam.

Garcia (26-3) was removed after the fifth as the Bruins nursed a comfortable seven-run lead. Holly Azevedo surrendered an RBI groundout to Malia Martinez in the seventh.

UCLA hitters did not have the same trouble with Taylor McQuillin. Or any trouble, for that matter.

The Bruins (55-5) launched four homers off the UA left-hander, plus a first-inning RBI double courtesy of Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Aaliyah Jordan.

Garcia’s two-run bomb extended UCLA’s lead to 5-0 in the fifth, then Madison Jelenicki added a two-run homer of her own just two batters later. Jelenicki also homered in the second, and Kylie Perez homered in the third.

In all, McQuillin (28-11) allowed 10 hits and walked two with six strikeouts. She was pulled in the fifth in favor of Alyssa Denham, who threw two scoreless frames.

It was a discouraging performance for McQuillin who was stellar in the Tucson Regional last weekend, when she threw 19.2 scoreless innings. But the junior has been rocked by the Bruins each time she’s faced them this season.

Then again, she had to be perfect for Arizona to win Thursday, since its offense can’t solve Garcia.

The sophomore has only allowed two runs in 17.2 innings against Arizona this year.

Heading into Super Regionals, the Wildcats were adamant they were a different team than the one that got swept by the Bruins in Tucson in the regular season, but Game 1 in Westwood looked like more of the same.

UCLA has outscored Arizona 31-13 this year, taking all four games of the series.

If it takes a fifth, Arizona’s season will end short of a trip to Oklahoma City for the eighth straight year.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire