Last night at Jackie Robinson Stadium, the UCLA Bruin baseball team (23-10, 12-4 Pac-12) started the game hot and never let up against the Trojans, scoring five runs in the first inning and cruising to a 16-1 demolition of Southern Cal (18-16, 6-10 Pac-12). As dominant as the Bruins were, the game only counts as one victory in the standings and Southern Cal will enter today’s game with a clean slate and tons of motivation to even the series. UCLA will seek the series win.
It started quickly last night for the Bruins, as UCLA sent nine men to the plate in the first inning and scored five runs. The Bruins tallied six hits in the bottom half of the first frame, including a two run double from Chase Strumpf, to put UCLA up 2-0—all the runs UCLA would need on the day. The Bruins also registered RBI singles from Jack Stronach and Garrett Mitchell in the inning.
The Bruins added two more runs in the second inning to take a 7-0 lead, but Southern Cal had a change to get back into the game in the fifth inning. The Trojans had already pushed one run across the plate, and had the bases loaded with two outs. Fortunately for the Bruins, Jake Bird was able to induce a ground out to end the inning. It was one of eleven ground ball outs for Jake on the night.
UCLA would blow the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring four runs to take an 11-1 lead. The big blow was a three run home run delivered by freshman shortstop Kevin Kendall.
But that was not it for UCLA,who once again sent nine batters to the plate in the eighth inning, plating another five runs and resulting in the final 16-1 score.
Both Daniel Amaral and Kendall had three hits on the night. Kendall also scored three times and drove in four runs, filling up the box score. The freshman is my player of the game. Michael Toglia was no slouch either, going two for five with two runs scored and three RBI, including a solo home run to straightaway center field in the eighth inning.
UCLA starting pitcher Jake Bird (5-2, 158 ERA) had another fine outing, throwing seven plus innings and allowing only one earned run. it sure helps when you get run support, something Bird didn’t get as much of earlier in the season. It was Bird’s third straight victory in as many starts. Southern Cal starter Kyle Hurt (2-4, 5.94 ERA) was bashed and bruised by the Bruin bats, allowing seven runs (all earned) in just four innings.
First pitch for today’s game is at 4 p.m. PT. UCLA Head Coach John Savage will tap freshman right hander Zach Pettway (5-1, 2.85) for the start, while Southern Cal will counter with junior righty Solomon Bates (3-1, 3.11 ERA).
UCLA must avoid a letdown after beating the Trojans the way that they did last night. Southern Cal, obviously, will be hungry for payback.
This is your UCLA Bruin baseball versus Southern Cal game two open thread.