The top-ranked UCLA baseball team (15-4, 3-1 Pac-12) scored in six of eight innings last night, including a four-run fourth inning, to easily defeat the Arizona Wildcats, 10-5.
Arizona’s high-powered offense dinged UCLA starter Zach Pettway for two runs in the top of the first inning on a two-run double by Nick Quintana. But the Bruins scored the next ten runs, plating one in the first on a Ryan Kreidler home run, one in the second on an RBI double by Will McInerny, one in the third on a Chase Strumpf RBI single, four in the fourth, one in the fifth on a passed ball, and two in the seventh on a fielder’s choice and a sac fly.
The big hit of the night came from UCLA’s Jack Stronach, who doubled with the based loaded in the fourth inning. UCLA scored two, but Jake Pries was thrown out at the plate, ending the inning.
Stronach is on fire, leading the Bruins with a .414 batting average. Stronach is also getting it done with the glove, making ESPN’s top plays last Sunday, with a full extension, diving catch against Oregon State.
Kevin Kendall also had a fine game, going 3 for 3 with a walk, and scoring four runs. Kendall has raised his batting average to .250, which is a lot considering his slow start to his sophomore year.
One Bruin who is struggling to put it together at the plate is junior first baseman Michael Toglia, who went 0 for 5 on the night and left three runners on base. Toglia is hitting .213 and considering he was a driving force, along with Strumpf, of UCLA’s offense in 2018, he needs to get that bat going.
After giving up the two runs on three hits in the first inning, Pettway (2-1, 2.66 ERA) settled down nicely against the high-powered Arizona offense. He threw seven innings and only allowed two more hits, both singles, after giving up three hits in the first. Pettway, who struck out ten, earned the victory for his second in a row. Remember, he is just a sophomore and should be an absolute beast in 2020.
Once Pettway departed, Arizona hit UCLA’s set-up man, Kyle Mora, hard in the eighth inning, with him giving up two hits, two walks, and a wild pitch, allowing 3 earned runs, all while recording only one out. It was a tough night for Mora, who has otherwise been very good for the Bruins this season. Luckily, UCLA had an eight-run cushion before the Wildcats cut the lead to 10-5 in the eighth, which ended up being the final score.
Holden Powell pitched a scoreless ninth inning, striking out the side in order.
Unlike last night, today looks like it could be a pitchers’ duel, at least on paper. Both starters, UCLA’s Jack Ralston (3-0, 1.86 ERA) and Arizona’s Quinn Flanagan (3-0, 1.12 ERA) are undefeated and have ERAs under 2.00.
First pitch at Jackie Robinson Stadium is at 2 pm PT. UCLA is seeking the series win.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats baseball game two open thread.