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UCLA begins quest for another NCAA title in softball on Friday

UCLA’s pursuit of a 12th NCAA championship in softball begins Friday when the Bruins host the Los Angeles Regional at Easton Stadium.

Seeded third in the tournament, UCLA (50-4) plays Sacramento State (31-18) at 8 p.m. Cal State Fullerton (33-23) and Texas State (42-14) open the regional at 5:30 p.m.

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The winner of the double-elimination regional advances to a super regional next week. The winners of the eight super regionals qualify for the College World Series, to be held in Oklahoma City beginning May 31.

UCLA, which has the most NCAA titles in softball, is seeking its first championship since 2010. The Bruins went 1-2 in the College World Series last season.

UCLA sophomore pitcher Rachel Garcia was selected as the Pac-12 Conference player of the year. She has a 21-2 record with a 1.08 ERA and 218 strikeouts in 142 2/3 innings. She also has a .355 batting average with nine home runs and 44 runs batted in. The Bruins’ Aaliyah Jordan was chosen as the conference’s freshman of the year. She led the conference in hitting with a .444 average. She has 11 home runs and 63 RBIs.

Long Beach State (42-12) plays Mississippi (30-23) at 4 p.m. PST in a regional hosted by Arizona State. The Sun Devils (43-11), seeded eighth in the tournament, play New Mexico State (29-22).

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