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Delanie Wisz, UCLA slam Grand Canyon in NCAA softball opener

LOS ANGELES — Delanie Wisz went 3 for 3 with a grand slam and drove in a career-high six runs as the fifth-seeded UCLA softball team earned a 12-1 mercy-rule victory over Grand Canyon University in an NCAA regional opener on Friday night at Easton Stadium.

Holly Azevedo (18-2) surrendered the lone Grand Canyon run on just three hits in her complete-game effort. The Bruins (44-8) scored five runs in the second inning, four in the third and three in the fourth. Nine UCLA players reached base via seven hits and 10 walks.

Starter Ariel Thompson (20-6) took the loss for GCU (39-15), which scored in the game’s final inning.

UCLA will face Loyola Marymount (37-15) on Saturday at 2 p.m., with the winner gaining the inside track to winning the four-team, double-elimination regional. The Lions defeated Mississippi, 4-2, in the first game Friday. Grand Canyon and Mississippi (39-18) will meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The winner meets the UCLA-LMU loser later Saturday night in another elimination game.

UCLA took control of the game in the second inning, loading the bases via walks before Kinsley Washington drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Then, with the bases still loaded, Wisz drove the first pitch she saw from Thompson over the right field fence for a 5-0 lead.

UCLA loaded the bases again in the third with three two-out walks, then Briana Perez drove in two runs with a line drive to the left-center field gap. Wisz then singled up the middle to drive in two more runs and extend the lead to 9-0.

Maya Brady and Alyssa Garcia had consecutive doubles to continue the UCLA onslaught in the fourth inning. Pinch-hitter Thessa Malau’ulu then doubled down the right-field line for another run. The Bruins added one more to push the margin to 12-0.

The Antelopes ended UCLA’s bid for a shutout in the fifth when Macee Barnes drove in Stephanie Reed with a two-out double. Azevedo induced a groundout from the next batter, though, completing the victory.

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