This evening, the UCLA baseball team will travel to Long Beach for a game against the Dirtbags at 6 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Sunday, the Bruins squared off against Southern Cal in the final game of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic.
Unfortunately, the Trojans took the first pitch from UCLA starter Jesse Bergin and put it over the wall in right center. Southern Cal added two more runs in the second and made it 4-0 in the top of the third.
UCLA finally responded with a rally in the bottom half of the third. Garrett Mitchell led off the inning with an infield hit and he moved up to second when Matt McLain flew out to right. Mitchell scored on an RBI single by Chase Strumpf. After Michael Toglia singled to right, the Bruins had runners on first and second with two out. Ryan Kreidler drove Strumpf in on a single to right and Toglia scored on a fielding error by the Southern Cal right fielder which also moved Kreidler up to second. That closed SC’s lead to 4-3 and that’s how things stayed until the bottom of the seventh.
In the seventh, Jarron Silva pinch-hit for Will McInerny and he patiently worked a seven-pitch walk. Mitchell collected his second hit of the game, giving UCLA runners on first and second with no outs. McLain wasn’t able to advance the runners when he struck out looking, but Silva and Mitchell moved up on a wild pitch. Strumpf walked on five pitches and the runners were able to move up again on a passed ball. That scored Silva to tie the game and gave the Bruins runners on the corners. Two batters later, Toglia reached on a throwing error which scored Mitchell to give the Bruins a 5-4 lead.
UCLA added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run double by McLain that made it 7-4, Bruins. Holden Powell came in to pitch the top of the ninth for the Bruins and, while Powell gave up one run, he was able to strike out Trojan shortstop Chase Bushor for out number three with the tying run on first. That earned Powell his fourth save of the season.
Bergin only made through 21⁄3 innings in this one as he got roughed up for four runs on six hits, but the Bruins got 52⁄3 innings of scoreless middle relief that only allowed two hits and two walks. Nate Hadley earned his third win of the season in this one with a scoreless seventh.
Long Beach State Dirtbags
It’s been a tough season so far for Long Beach State. The Dirtbags are just 2-12 overall. After losing their first ten games of the season, they finally picked up their first win last week when they beat Michigan on Tuesday, 8-7. On Saturday, they earned their second win with a 14-3 dismantling of TCU, but that was sandwiched by a pair of losses to the Horned Frogs.
Tonight, Ryan Garcia makes his first start of the season for UCLA after making his first appearance of the year in relief on Saturday against Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, Sagun Gainey takes the hill for the first time for the Dirtbags. Gainey spent the last two seasons at the College of the Sequoias.
Personally, I don’t see the Bruins losing this one, but the more important thing tonight will be how well and how long Garcia pitches for the Bruins. He had been expected to be UCLA’s frontline starter at the start of the season, but didn’t debut until Saturday. If he has a good outing, it will only add to the Bruins’ pitching staff.
This is your UCLA Bruins at Long Beach State Tuesday night baseball open thread.