Redshirt junior Rachel Garcia is coming off an outstanding 2018 season in which she was named the Honda Sport Award winner for softball and the USA Softball, NFCA and ESPNW National Player of the Year. She led the Bruins' pitching staff with a 1.31 earned run average, a 29-4 record and 315 strikeouts in 208 innings, while adding a .339 batting average, 11 home runs and 54 runs batted in, helping UCLA to a trip to the Women's College World Series semifinals. Garcia pitched 21 complete games and was a part of 11 shutouts, including nine solo blankings, adding two saves and limiting opponents to a .143 batting average. At the plate, she was second in homers and RBI, third with 23 walks and first with six sacrifice flies.
In addition to her POY awards, Garcia was also named NFCA First Team All-American, NFCA First Team All-Region, Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, All-Pac-12 First Team and All-Women's College World Series Team. She earned 10 weekly awards last season (four-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week, two-time NFCA National Pitcher of the Week, two-time USA Softball National Player of the Week, one-time NFCA National Player of the Week and one-time Pac-12 Player of the Week). Garcia pitched in 23 of the Bruins' 27 innings in the 2018 WCWS, recording 42 strikeouts, a pair of wins and three complete games. She struck out 15 each in Bruin victories against Florida State and Florida. Garcia threw 65 1/3 of UCLA's 75 1/3 innings in the NCAA Tournament, striking out 97 and posting a 1.82 ERA with an 8-2 record. She also hit .273 with 10 RBI and two homers.
As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Garcia was named the NFCA National Freshman of the Year, NFCA Second Team All-American, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, NFCA All-West Region Second Team, All-Pac-12 First Team and All-Pac-12 Freshman Team, going 23-9 with three saves, a 1.87 ERA and 212 strikeouts in 202 2/3 innings. She also added a .325 batting average, eight homers and 29 RBI. On four occasions, she was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, while also earning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors twice and USA Softball National Player of the Week honors once. At the WCWS, she posted a 1.40 ERA, a win and 16 strikeouts in 20 innings, starting all three games in the circle and pitching all but one inning for the Bruins.
Garcia spent the summer of 2018 with the USA Softball National Team. She won the gold at both the WBSC World Championships, helping Team USA qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and the USA Softball International Cup. At the Worlds, she struck out 14 in 6 2/3 innings, going 1-0 with a 2.10 ERA, while going 2-for-5 with three RBI at the plate. Garcia produced a walk-off, RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning against Japan to send the U.S. into the gold medal game. At the International Cup, she went 1-0 with a 1.31 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.