Stanford reaches WCWS semifinals, eliminates Pac-12 rival UCLA

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

No. 6 UCLA softball’s run at the 2024 Women’s College World Series came to an end Sunday, as did the career of Bruins star shortstop Maya Brady.

Despite being delayed several hours due to weather to begin elimination Sunday in Oklahoma City, the final Pac-12 softball game certainly delivered with No. 8 Stanford coming out on top 3-1 at Devon Park on Sunday night — fittingly, the last ‘Pac-12 after dark’ in softball history.

The Bruins got to Stanford pitching phenom NiJaree Canady early in the contest when UCLA right fielder Megan Grant lifted one over the left field fence for a lead-off solo home run in the top of the second. However, that would be all Canady would allow the Bruins to score against her as the 2024 National Player of the Year got stronger and sharper throughout the night.

Taryn Kern tied things up in the third inning at 1-1 with a double off the wall in left-center, before the Cardinal lead-off hitter was brought around to score herself two batters latter when first baseman Ava Gall singled into right field.

Stanford added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Allie Clements, who came off the bench for the at-bat. UCLA showed some fight late on a two-out rally in the seventh, but Canady wouldn’t allow the Bruins to capitalize on it as she got Ramsey Suarez to ground out to end the game.

Canady earned the win, striking out eight and giving up just one run and four hits across seven innings of work. UCLA freshman pitcher Kaitlyn Terry was handed the loss. Brady had a tough day at the plate, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. The back-to-back Pac-12 Player of the Year ended her illustrious collegiate career with 279 hits, 71 home runs and 246 RBI in 248 games, 246 of which were starts.

UCLA ends its season 43-12 overall and 17-4 in Pac-12 play, while Stanford advances to play No. 1 overall Texas on Monday.

In the first elimination game Sunday, Florida knocked out SEC rival Alabama to advance to Monday’s semifinal and a date with three-time defending champion Oklahoma.

Both Stanford and Florida would have to win twice more to reach the championship series, which begins Wednesday. Texas and Oklahoma only need one win.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY