UCLA's Megan Faraimo Looks Ahead To 2021 Season
After pitching behind Rachel Garcia in 2019, Megan Faraimo emerged as UCLA's top pitcher in 2020 and turned out to be the best pitcher in the country during the shortened season. In 2020, Faramio delivered for the Bruins and led her squad in the circle with a 13-1 record, 0.85 ERA and 149 strikeouts in just over 80 innings pitched.
The current redshirt sophomore, who was Softball America's 2020 NCAA Pitcher of the Year, caught up with SA to discuss all things softball.
Softball America: What was it like to work with Rachel Garcia as a freshman?
Megan Faraimo: As a freshman, it was a great opportunity to work with someone who is older and seasoned. She’s also one of the best, so there is a lot to learn from her. It’s also great to compete with her in a healthy way to help both of us succeed.
SA: What wisdom has Garcia passed on to you and has she helped you with any pitches?
MF: She helped greatly with my softball IQ and reading batters. Sometimes she just says like, “Hey, just go out and compete. You got here, now it is time to do you and work hard and improve your own game.” Rachel is a great mentor and motivator.
SA: You also get to work with softball great Lisa Fernandez each day. What is that like?
MF: Coach Lisa is so awesome. She is the most energetic and competitive person I’ve ever been around. There is never an off day with Coach Lisa.
SA: What was it like to get the news that your UCLA teammates Rachel Garcia and Bubba Nickles were going to the Olympics?
MF: We were all so happy for them. As a team, without them, we weren’t worried because we had depth the year before and great freshmen coming in for the 2020 season.
SA: What was the conversation like with the pitching staff with Garcia gone?
MF: We talked about it being a staff and using a complete staff to get through games and doing whatever it takes for us to find a way to win.
SA: You had great success during the 2020 season and carried much of the pitching workload. What was the turning point for you before the season got canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
MF: It was the Florida tournament after I lost to Texas. We had a game after it and I mentally was like going to compete and go all out. I wasn’t going to let the past define me because I’m better than that.
SA: What was it like when the season ended so abruptly?
MF: It was tough. I felt so bad for the seniors and freshmen because of no postseason. Overall, the whole team progressed through the fall and we were ready to show up and show out. It was tough, obviously, but we worked through it together.
SA: What’s the plan for next season with Nickles and Garcia coming back?
MF: We’re focused on health and working into the season. We’re focused on us and blocking out the noise. We don’t have a plan, but it’s still “show up and show out.”
SA: How are you feeling about this upcoming season?
MF: I am so ecstatic about the upcoming season. It’s been over half a year since we’ve played any games at Easton (Stadium), so I’m ready to be competing back on our field.
SA: Did you take any time off from training or were you pretty set in your routine?
MF: It was tough, but I stayed focused on my routine. I knew when we got back to school, I wanted to come out healthy. I took a physical break, but focused on video and studying my mechanics.
SA: You were involved in voter registration this year. Why is that something you feel people should be involved in?
MF: I recently got into it with things going on with Black Lives Matter. I felt it was important that the younger generation starts to understand their voices can be heard. It’s my first presidential election I can vote in, and many generations fought for my right to vote, so I do it to honor their struggle.
SA: Are you working with any organizations or anything you want to plug?
MF: I’m working with the Voting Matters Initiative run by UCLA Athletics. We try to get awareness out for voting and registration, and we’re also involved in the community with outreach initiatives.