Tonight, the UCLA baseball team returns to action when they welcome the Loyola Marymount Lions to Jackie Robinson Stadium at 6 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Sunday, the Bruins broke out their brooms and finished off the weekend sweep of St. John’s with an 11-1 win. Jesse Bergin struck out 9 over 52⁄3 innings while giving up no earned runs and just two hits and one walk in his collegiate debut. Nate Hadley, Kyle Mora and Holden Powell pitched the final 31⁄3 scoreless innings to wrap up the game for the Bruins. Meanwhile, it was another big day for UCLA’s bats.
St. John’s actually got on the scoreboard first with an unearned run in the top of the third, but the Bruins got the run back in the bottom half of the inning. Michael Toglia hit a single to center that drove in Jeremy Ydens, who had previously doubled to left and the game was tied 1-1 after three.
In the fourth, Jake Pries walked and advanced to third on Ryan Kreidler’s double to left. Garrett Mitchell drove Pries in on a single to right. That would prove to be the game-winning run for UCLA while a sacrifice fly by Will McInerny scored Kreidler and gave the Bruins an insurance run. UCLA scored one more in the fifth and they had a 4-1 lead.
The seventh inning saw eleven Bruins come to the plate as UCLA mounted a seven-run rally. The Bruins used small ball to score the first three runs of the rally, but, later, Kyle Cuellar doubled to right center to drive in Jarron Silva, who had pinch-hit for McInerny, and Ydens. After Jake Hirabayashi pinch-ran for Cuellar, Chase Strumpf capped off the rally with a two-run homer to straight-away center, giving UCLA an 11-1 lead, and that’s how it ended.
Loyola Marymount Lions
UCLA will welcome Loyola to Jackie Robinson Stadium in the Bruins’ first mid-week game of the season. The Lions opened the season over the weekend with a rain-shortened series against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, After the opening game of the series on Friday was rained out, the Gauchos took Saturday’s game, 7-2, while Loyola Marymount took Sunday’s finale, 9-7. Lions catcher Cooper Uhl led the Lions offensively with four hits and four RBIs.
Tonight’s probable pitchers are freshman righthander Nick Nastrini (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Bruins and lefty Mark Finkelnburg (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
Overall, LMU has been picked to finish seventh in the Big West. While expectations like this don’t generally have as much sway in sports like baseball that play a lot of games, that expectation is still enough to cause me to predict a win for the Bruins tonight.