The Bruins opened the baseball season the right way last night — with a win. Senior Jake Bird (1-0, 0.00) held the Pilots to just one unearned run over six innings before the bullpen took over and closed the game out.
Of course, the fact that Bird had a lot of run support certainly helped last night because having your team score six runs in four innings takes a lot of pressure off your starting pitcher and that’s exactly what the Bruins did last night.
UCLA got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. Daniel Amaral led of the inning for the Bruins with a walk. Unfortunately for the Pilots, lead-off walks tend to turn into runs. Sure enough, Amaral advanced to second on a fielder’s choice and then stole third to give UCLA a runner on third with just one out. DH Kyle Cuellar drove him in with a single up the middle.
It was a similar situation in the third. This time, Cuellar led off and was hit by a pitch and Chase Strumpf followed with a walk to give UCLA runners on first and second and no out. The Bruins loaded the bases when Jake Pries was also hit by a pitch. Jake Hirabayashi scored Cuellar with a single to left and Strumpf scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Kriedler as UCLA took a 3-0 lead.
Amaral led off the fourth and picked up his second lead-off walk of the night while a thowing error on a pickoff attempt advanced him to third. Jeremy Ydens also walked and UCLA had runners on the corners with no outs. Amaral scored and Ydens moved to second when Cuellar grounded to first. Strumpf doubled to left to score Ydens and then scored himself when Pries singled. That gave the Bruins a 6-0 lead after four.
In the top of the sixth, the Pilots played small ball but only got one run out of it while UCLA took advantage of a dropped fly ball by Portland’s Ryan Kim to get Ydens to third to start their half of the inning. He would score on a fielder choice by Cuellar and UCLA led 7-1 after six.
Portland would add one more run in the top of the ninth off Matt Walker, but it wasn’t enough and UCLA won the game 7-2.
The teams meet again at 2 pm this afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Today, righthanded junior Jon Olsen should be on the hill for the Bruins and the Pilots will likely go with lefthanded senior Corbin Powers.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Portland Pilots Saturday baseball open thread.