The Bruins opened their season last night, a day after originally scheduled due to the weekend’s storm, and they did so in dramatic, if unexciting, fashion on a walk-off fielder’s choice by Ryan Kreidler.
UCLA took an early lead in the second inning. With one out, Nick Valaika doubled to left-center for the Bruins’ first hit of the season. Following a balk by San Jose State starter Josh Nashed that moved Valaika to third, Kreidler singled to drive in the first UCLA run of the season.
The Bruins increased their lead in the fifth. Kreidler started the rally with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice by catcher Daniel Rosica. Centerfielder Daniel Amaral also singled to move Kreidler to third. Amaral got caught in a rundown trying to steal second, but Kreidler was able to score before Amaral was tagged for the third out of the inning and UCLA led 2-0.
Bruin starter Griffin Canning pitched six scoreless innings and only allowed 2 hits and 2 walks before turning it over to the bullpen. Matt Walker relieved Canning to start the seventh inning and immediately issued a walk to San Jose State’s Chris Williams. He would eventually score and UCLA’s lead was cut to one. Moises Ceja releived Walker and got the final two outs of the inning.
Scott Burke came in to pitch the eighth for UCLA and, like Walker before him, he walked the first batter he faced. And, just like the seventh inning, that came back to hurt UCLA as Spartan catcher Joseph Stefanki would eventually score on a Burke wild pitch to tie the score.
With runners on first and second and still only one out, Bruin Coach John Savage went to his bullpen again and brought in freshman righthander Brian Gadsby who got the final two outs of the inning. Gadsby also pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to set the Bruins up for the walk-off.
In the ninth, Bruin first baseman Sean Bouchard walked to start the inning and advanced to second on Michael Toglia’s single to right. A throwing error moved both runners up and SJSU walked Valaika to load the bases. Kyle Cueller pinch-hit into a fielder’s choice where pinch-runner Nick Kern, who was running for Bouchard, was thrown out at home and the Bruins still had the bases loaded with one out.
Kriedler then hit into the walk-off fielder’s choice, but beat out the throw to first and prevented a double play as Toglia scored from third and UCLA wrapped up their opener by a final score of 3-2. Gadsby earned the win for his 1-2/3 innings of scoreless relief in his UCLA debut and Jaiden France took the loss for the Spartans.
Today, Jake Bird starts his first game of the season for UCLA while junior righthander Matt Brown goes to the hill for San Jose State. Game time is still 1pm.
There is no TV for today’s game, but John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call for today’s game via streaming online audio.
You can also follow along via live statistics.