OKLAHOMA CITY — The UCLA Bruins improved their perfect record to 16-0 over the weekend due largely in part to pitcher Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.). The Junior pitched the Bruins to four wins in the circle, including three against ranked opponents, and also hit .429 at the plate with four runs batted in and five runs scored. For her efforts, Carda has been named the USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Week the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today.
“I’m very excited to earn this National Player of the Week honor,” said Carda. “I’ve been working really hard to improve all aspects of my game. Last year, we didn’t end the season the way we wanted to, so I took a lot of pride in working out over the summer and trying to get better in whatever way possible, whether it was pitching, hitting or getting faster and stronger. My teammates have had my back all season and it’s been pretty fun to just go out there and play. Everyone on this team is on the same page to get better on our mission to get to the top.”
Carda was 4-0 on the week with a 0.67 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 21 total innings in the circle for the Bruins who competed at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. On Friday, facing the defending NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) Champions and 13th ranked Oklahoma Sooners, Carda struck out 10 batters and allowed just two unearned runs in a 3-2 UCLA win.
The Junior won twice on Saturday, tossing three innings of shutout relief versus then-No. 16 Missouri in a UCLA 4-3 win. She struck out five batters and allowed only one hit and one walk in the contest. Carda helped her own efforts as she went 2-for-3 from the plate with an RBI. Later in the evening, Ally recorded her second win of the day when she struck out five batters in five innings of a 10-5 UCLA victory over Maryland. From the plate Carda went 2-for-4, scored two runs and batted in a third.
Carda’s efforts on Sunday were just as impressive as she earned her fourth win of the week, this a 6-2 decision over then-No. 12 Nebraska. The right hander allowed two runs on four hits in the game but struck out seven Husker batters while going 1-for-2 from the plate with one run scored. In their final game of the event, UCLA faced an unranked New Mexico team late Sunday and Carda did her damage on the offensive side. She went 1-for-1 with two runs scored and batted in two additional runs as UCLA cruised to a 13-0, five inning run rule of the Lobos.
“Ally played with savvy this weekend, getting out of some big situations, and that’s what champions do,” UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “And Ally is getting even stronger, so the best is yet to come. Ally came in to this UCLA softball program to carry on the long tradition in the circle. She’s more than just a pitcher though. She also has the ability to impact the lineup at the plate as a very powerful leadoff hitter. Ally exemplifies what it means to be a Bruin. She is a very powerful leader and an outstanding teammate. She exudes confidence and the team is able to keep that calm confidence behind her.”
Carda finished the week with 27 total strike outs in 21 innings of work. She allowed just two earned runs and six walks on her way to a .067 ERA. From the plate, Carda finished 6-for-14 for a .429 average, scored five runs, plated four RBI and finished with a .550 on-base percentage. She successfully stole four bases on five attempts.
This is the first USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honor for a UCLA Bruin since B.B. Bates earned the award in Week 2 of the 2013 season. The Bruins return to action this weekend, Feb. 28 - March 2, at the Long Beach Louisville Slugger Invitational in Lakewood, Calif.
USA Softball National Collegiate Players of the Week
Week 1 (Feb. 6-9): Kylee Lahners - Washington - Junior - Infielder– Laguna Hills, Calif.
Week 2 (Feb. 10 -16): Aimee Creger - Tulsa - Senior - Pitcher– Yukon, Okla.
Week 3 (Feb. 17-23): Ally Carda – UCLA – Junior – Pitcher – Elk Grove, Calif.