UCLA, one of the most storied programs in college softball, is back in the NCAA Tournament’s super regionals for the eighth consecutive time (excluding the canceled 2020 postseason) and is one of 16 teams poised to make a run at an NCAA title. It would be UCLA’s 14th national championship.
As the No. 5 overall seed, the Bruins will host 12th-seeded Duke during this weekend’s best-of-three matchups. While a couple of super regionals will begin on Thursday, Game 1 between UCLA and Duke is scheduled for 11 p.m. ET on Friday.
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To advance to the Women’s College World Series (which features the final eight teams) for a record 34th time, the Bruins are expected to rely heavily on their redshirt junior ace pitcher, Megan Faraimo.
Faraimo has posted a 21-4 record and a 1.71 ERA with 261 strikeouts in 171.2 innings pitched this season, as she’s helped UCLA to a 46-8 record. Her long list of accolades has grown to include her selection as 2022 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and a top-25 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year. Her third selection to both the Pac-12 first team and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association West All-Region first team also came this spring.
Faraimo’s last substantial outing came Saturday against Loyola Marymount in the regional. Her complete game propelled the Bruins to a 7-1 win.
Never a doubt. 😏@UCLASoftball advances to the Regional championship!#Pac12SB | #GoBruins | #RoadToWCWS pic.twitter.com/q1wJerLiua
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) May 21, 2022
UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez credited Faraimo and the rest of the Bruins pitchers after her team advanced to the super regionals. She knows pitching will continue to be key against a Duke team that hits an average of 1.86 home runs per game.
“Our pitching has been the biggest part of our success in 2022,” she said on Sirius XM Pac-12 Radio. “Any time you have pitchers who can stop the opponent the way that we have, and defense behind them, defense wins championships.”
Faraimo has been to two super regionals before; she knows what’s at stake. Yet she also knows that even as her teammates will look to her, she looks to God.
During an elimination game in last year’s super regionals against Virginia Tech, Faraimo was steadied by the words of the Bible verse Psalm 55:22 written on the underside of her visor. It says, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
“I was reading it before the game and also just trying to connect with my faith and focus on God throughout the game,” she told the Los Angeles Daily News after the 2-0 victory. “And I think that’s what got me through it.”
Faraimo, who lists Psalm 115:1 in her Instagram bio, has been known to post on social media about her faith in God. Faced with an uncertain future after the 2020 season was abruptly ended during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, she placed her trust in the Lord.
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And last fall, she reflected on the position God had put her in at UCLA, surrounded by great teammates and coaches.
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“I realized that wherever you get your confidence from determines how long you’ll have it,” Faraimo said after last season’s game against Virginia Tech. “So I think, for me, I find my confidence in my faith in God and just knowing that He’s working through me.”
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