In what was supposed to be a game in which the Bruins showed well, they did not disappoint. After giving up an unearned run in the top of the 1st inning, the UCLA bats exploded in the bottom of the 1st. The Bruins batted around, scoring six runs, two of which came on a Brett Stephens home run out of the two spot in UCLA’s batting order. Stephens finished the day 3-6, with 3 RBI, as he plays himself back into form after an early season finger injury sidelined him for a few weeks. Three of the other 1st inning runs came on a bases-clearing double by Trent Chatterton. At the end of the 1st, the Bruins were up, 6-1.
The Bruins cruised through the middle of the game, picking up a run in the second inning (chasing Utah starter Brent Helton, who pitched 1.1 innings and gave up 7 runs, all earned) and a run in the fifth. Utah reliever Trenton Stoltz, did a good job in relief, throwing 5.1 innings, with only one earned run. At the same time, UCLA starter, James Kaprielian, was once again impressive, improving his record to 5-1. Kap threw 6.1 innings, giving up an unearned run, scattering 5 hits, and recording 7 strikeouts.
The Bruins came alive again in the bottom of the 8th inning against new Utah pitching, once again batting around, scoring six runs on six hits. The scoring was led by Christoph Bono’s 2 RBI triple, and Chris Keck’s 2 RBI double. It was a nice moment for Bones, who has been struggling a bit from the plate lately. Hopefully, this big hit gets him back on track. Keck, simply stated, has been an RBI monster, with 25 through 20 games.
With a 14-1 lead, UCLA Head Coach John Savage did not close out the game with Dave berg, but instead tabbed Hunter Virant. Virant gave up a solo home run, which resulted in the final score, 14-2.
The Bruins tallied a season high 19 hits. A special "shout out" needs to go to UCLA’s "all everything" shortstop, Kevin Kramer. Kramer has a seven game hitting streak, and went 4-6 out out the leadoff spot. Kramer also drew a walk, stole a base, scored 2 runs, and drove in one run. The junior was hitting .425 BEFORE this game, so he is likely in the .430s now. Before recording an out in the latter innings, Kramer had reached base safely in ten straight plate appearances.
Today’s matchup, in which the Bruins will seek the series win, will pit UCLA’s senior left-hander, Grant Watson (2-2, 2.17 ERA) against Utah’s junior right-hander, Dalton Carroll (3-2; 3.33 ERA). The Bruins will look to get a good outing from Watson and to keep their hot bats going.
The first pitch is at 2 p.m. PT, so there is no conflict with UCLA basketball’s quest to reach the Sweet 16 (that matchup tips off at 9:10 a.m. PT). There is no TV coverage so, if you can, come on out to Jackie Robinson Stadium, support this great team, and enjoy a beautiful, sunny day of Bruin baseball. If you cannot make it out but would like to follow the game, you can listen to John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm call the game or follow along with live stats. Tomorrow, we will recap this game and preview Game 3 of the series.
This is your UCLA vs. Utah open thread.