Have a day Megan Faraimo
Her team up against it, UCLA's best pitcher moonlighted as a power hitter, too, pushing the Bruins past the Wildcats and keeping them going at the World Series
OKLAHOMA CITY — We should all have days like the day UCLA’s Megan Faraimo had Friday at Hall of Fame Stadium.
You know, a day when the thing for which you’re most responsible, that everybody sees and knows you for doing, that though you may hand credit to others is really all about you, well, it just goes fabulously. Then, not only that, some other thing you only have to do some of the time, it goes spectacularly, too.
Nobody gets many days like that but the redshirt junior from Oceanside, California, had one of them against Northwestern, pushing the Bruins to a 6-1 victory, sending the Wildcats home and, most importantly, giving her team a path forward at the Women’s College World Series.
So big a day, it demanded her coach, Kelly Inouye-Perez, be asked why Faraimo had not been given more opportunities to have such days.
She had a good reason.
Most of the season, the Bruins had others to do that other thing Faraimo was called upon to also do against the Wildcats.
Of course, if Faraimo enjoys doing that other thing and would like more chances to do that other thing, now she has a great case.
All this build up, you can probably guess what she did, but here it is anyway.
In the losers’ bracket, having to win to survive one day after not having it in an opening loss to Texas, Faraimo offered up a complete game five-hitter from the circle, striking out 10 and walking three.
That other thing?
From the batter’s box, she reached base in three of four plate appearances and, in one of them, in the sixth inning, UCLA up only a run, she took a pitch from Danielle Williams, the Big 10’s best, and crushed it over the left-center field wall, giving her team an absolutely huge run, at least until the Bruins added three more in the seventh.
“Hitting is so hard,” Faraimo said. “Hitting is so hard but every time I go up to bat, I just try to have a quality at-bat … do whatever I can to get on base.”
Upon her having left the yard, in the press box, writers not based in Los Angeles were shocked to realize it was only her second time to go deep this season.
That led to looking up her at-bat total: 60 upon entering the World Series and they hadn’t treated so well, the home run pushed her average to just .222 and her slugging percentage to .381.
Then again, not bad for a player who had received just 18 at bats, total, entering the season and who, Inouye-Perez admitted, spent exactly no time working on her hitting last fall.
Explaining how she’s used her this season, Inouye-Perez gave this great quote that didn’t explain a whole lot, but worked to illustrate the fence upon which Faraimo might eventually straddle but hasn’t quite yet, Friday night excluded.
“Megan got into the lineup when things started getting a little depleted on our bench,” she said. “Pitching is her focus. She knows that’s why she’s here. She’s definitely a two-way player.”
Which one is it?
It can be tackled next fall.
She’s a two-way player right now and Bruin Nation’s happy for it.
Faraimo overcame in the circle, too.
She faced one dangerous inning, the fifth, and on the verge of the whole game getting away from her, she brought it back.
Angela Zedak came through with a one-out single for the Wildcats, Hannah Cady walked and after striking out Sydney Supple, Faraimo gave up the softest flare down the left field line to Grace Nieto. Had it traveled a foot or two shorter or longer, it would have been caught by third baseman Thessa Malau’ulu or left fielder Kelli Godin, but it wasn’t and suddenly it was a 2-1 game.
Faraimo was affected, walking Skyler Shellmyer to load the bases and, if you can believe it, going 3-0 on Rachel Lewis, the Wildcats’ most dangerous hitter, who went deep the day before against Oklahoma.
Three pitches later, Lewis had struck out looking.
“I’ve said it before,” said Delanie Wisz, who caught each of Faraimo’s 131 pitches, “when Megan’s back is against the wall, that’s when the fiercest competitor comes out.
“She’s just a straight dog.”
Or a straight Bruin?
You get the picture.
Momentarily shaky, she triumphed.
Leading off the next inning, she reached the seats, because that’s the way great stories like this go.
“She has come through in some key situations,” Inouye-Perez said.
None as big as Friday.
You think you had a great day?
Megan Faraimo’s was better.
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1: Texas 7, UCLA 2
2: Oklahoma 13, Northwestern 2
3: Florida 7, Oregon State 1
4: Oklahoma State 4, Arizona 2
5: UCLA 6, Northwestern 2
6: Arizona 3, Oregon State 1
7: Oklahoma vs. Texas, 2 p.m. (ABC)
8: Florida vs. Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
9: UCLA vs. Florida/Oklahoma State loser, 2 p.m. (ABC)
10: Arizona vs. Oklahoma/Texas loser (ESPN2)
11: Winner 7 vs. Winner 9, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
12: Winner 7 vs. Winner 9, 1:30 p.m., if necessary (ESPN)
13: Winner 8 vs. Winner 10, 6 6.m. (ESPN)
14: Winner 8 vs. Winner 10, 8:30 p.m., if necessary (ESPN)
Championship Series, Game 1, TBA (ESPN)
Thursday, June 9
Championship Series, Game 2, TBA (ESPN2)
Friday, June 10
Championship Series, Game 3, if necessary, TBA (ESPN)