UCLA had a big first inning last night — and, it’s a good thing they did — because Utah held the Bruins hitless in the final eight innings. But, the first inning rally proved to be enough.
UCLA sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first.
The rally started with a walk to Brett Stephens who advanced to second on a passed ball. Daniel Amaral’s infield single move Stephens over to third. A wild pitch from Riley Ottesen moved Amaral to second, giving the Bruins runners on second and third with still no outs. A walk to Sean Bouchard loaded the bases and one to Michael Toglia walked Stephens in for the first run of the game.
That brought Chase Strumpf to the plate with the bases still loaded. After taking the first pitch and fouling one off, Strumpf drove one over the fence in left center for a grand slam to give the Bruins a 5-0 lead. Three batters later, Ryan Kriedler singled for the final Bruins’ hit of the game.
But, that would be all UCLA needed yesterday.
Dallas Carroll would finally get the Utes on the board in the top of the sixth with a three-run homer.
It looked like the Utes might tie the game in the seventh following a Wade Gulden double to start the inning, but Nick Schiedler struck out Josh Rose and got Oliver Dunn to fly out before John Savage brought Brian Gadsby to pitch to Ellis Kelly, whom he got to ground out to end threat.
Gadsby then threw a perfect eighth inning and Scott Burke had a one-two-three ninth to earn the save.
Starter Jake Bird (5-3) picked up the win for the Bruins and Ottesen (4-4) took the loss for the Utes.
The teams wrap up the series this afternoon at 1 pm. Jon Olsen (5-1, 3.25 ERA) will take the hill for UCLA while junior lefty Josh Lapiana (3-5, 4.92 ERA) gets the start for the Utes.
Because today is the last home game of the regular season, it’s Senior Day and the Bruins will honor Burke, Stephens, Moises Ceja, and Nick Kern before today’s first pitch.
Unfortunately, there is no TV or live stream coverage of Senior Day, but live audio will be available on the official website with John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm on the call.