UCLA’s B.B. Bates earns USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week accolades
OKLAHOMA CITY — Eight home runs and 19 RBI propelled UCLA senior B.B. Bates (Victorville, Calif.) to this week’s USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The outfielder led her team to a 5-0 record including four run-rules in this weekend’s Easton Desert Classic. The undefeated weekend shot UCLA up five spots to No. 13 in this week’s ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll. This is the first USA Softball Player of the Week award for Bates and the first for a Bruin since Stephany LaRosa garnered the award in Week 10 of last season.
“I’m very honored to receive this prestigious award. It feels great,” said Bates. “It’s going to motivate me to keep doing great things, keep my head strong and stay positive and humble. What worked for me this weekend was that I was having fun. I was very relaxed and having fun with the girls and it just helped me see the ball better and relax in the box.”
Bates, who entered the week with just one homer on the season, went yard in all five of UCLA’s weekend contests including three-consecutive two-home run games. She finished with an astonishing eight homers, 19 RBI and 10 runs scored. Bates went 12-of-17 from the plate for a .706 batting average. The senior also recorded a 2.176 slugging percentage and a .722 on-base percentage.
“To put on a hitting display the way she did speaks volume of what this year could look like for her,” said UCLA Head Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “I’m very proud of her for what she did this weekend. But her focus has really been on the team and I think it has allowed her to play relaxed and play some great softball. She makes people around her better and that is what she is focusing on this year, which will allow her to do some great things on the field.”
Bates established a pair of UCLA records as she became the first Bruin to hit two home runs in three-consecutive games and her six homers over a three games stretch beat out the previous school record of four. With home runs in five straight games, Bates is currently tied for the UCLA mark for consecutive games with a homer.
“Being able to put my name alongside my idol Natasha Watley, who was the first Bruin to earn this award, is amazing,” said Bates. “I’ve looked up to her since I was 11 and I continue to try and follow in her footsteps that she cemented here at UCLA.”
The Bruins will next compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. February 22-24. UCLA is slated to face No. 4 Tennessee, Maryland, Oklahoma State, No. 10 LSU and Nevada over the course of the weekend.