It was a great night for UCLA baseball fans at Jackie Robinson Stadium last night, as the Bruins (18-7, 7-3 PAC 12) defeated the Stanford Cardinal, by the score of 8-4. Mighty Stanford (22-4, 5-2 PAC 12) had come to town, with their number two ranking and top notch pitching staff, and presented UCLA’s stiffest competition of the season.
The game was tight for most of the night, heading into the 8th inning a 3-2 ballgame, with the Bruins holding on. UCLA manufactured an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, and then sophomore third baseman, Ryan Kreidler, put the game out of reach with a grand slam to straightaway center field, putting the Bruins up 8-2! Stanford would scratch out two runs in the top of the 9th, resulting in the final 8-4 score line.
Jake Bird (3-2, 1.59 ERA) pitched well on the night, going 7 and 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, and throwing 104 pitches. Ryan Garcia came on in the eighth with a one run lead, one out, and a runner on base, and managed to record the final two outs of the inning.
Although Garcia had a tougher 9th inning, charged with two runs, the game was out of reach by that time. Holden Powell finished the game for the Bruins.
UCLA’s bullpen has had its issues this season, but it was Stanford’s bullpen that let the Cardinal down in the 8th inning, allowing five UCLA runs, and giving the Bruins a comfortable cushion going into the final frame.
Obviously, Kreidler had the big moment of the night, taking a tight, 4-2 game (that had been a 3-2 nail biter two batters before), and blowing it open with his four run bomb. Before the big hit, UCLA Head Coach John Savage made all the right calls in what was an exciting ball game, including his bullpen moves with Garcia and calling upon Jake Pries in a late inning pinch hitting role, which resulted in the first UCLA insurance run.
Chase Strumpf also had a nice night, with two hits, two RBI, and a walk. Both center fielder Daniel Amaral and freshman shortstop Kevin Kendall had two hits.
I think that it is safe to say that this game was UCLA’s biggest win of the season as we hit the 35 game mark. The Bruins knocked off their first top 25 opponent, the number two team in the nation no less, and gained a full game on the Cardinal in the PAC 12 Standings, putting UCLA in second place by a few percentage points . Can the Bruins build upon this win and secure the series win?
We will certainly see, and it should be fun finding out, as this afternoon pits a couple of undefeated, five win pitchers against each other. Zach Pettway (5-0, 2.23 ERA) will be tabbed by Coach Savage to take the mound for the Bruins. Stanford will aim to even the series, countering with junior lefthander Kris Bubic (5-0, 0.96 ERA). First pitch at Jackie Robinson Stadium is at 2 p.m. PT.
This is your UCLA Bruin baseball versus Stanford Cardinal game two open thread.