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UCLA Baseball: Bruins Beat Arizona in 12-10 Slugfest, Look for Sweep Today

What was expected to a pitchers’ duel yesterday turned into a double-digit slugfest with the Bruins coming out on top,

Kevin Kendall had two hits, an RBI and scored three runs yesterday against Arizona.
Joe Piechowski

In previewing yesterday’s game, orlandobruin wrote that it looked “like it could be a pitchers’ duel, at least on paper. So, of course, it figured that the final score was 12-10. Thankfully, UCLA came out on top in this one to claim the series win.

This afternoon, the teams wrap up the weekend series with one more game at 1 pm PT.

Arizona got on the board first with a run in the top of the first inning, but the Bruins responded in a big way with four runs in the bottom of the second.

Michael Toglia started the Bruins’ rally by leading off with a first pitch single. Matt McLain immediately drove Toglia in with a first pitch triple down the third base line to tie that game, 1-1. Meanwhile, Kevin Kendall became the third Bruin of the inning to jump on the first pitch and he drove the ball to right center for an RBI single which scored McLain. Noah Cardenas bunted Kendall over to second, which brought Garrett Mitchell to the plate with just one out. Mitchell hit UCLA’s second triple of the inning, this time to right, to score Kendall while Jarron Silva scored Mitchell on a sacrifice fly to center.

Not to be outdone, the Wildcats responded with six more runs in the top of the third, powered by a three-run homer by Cameron Cannon and a two-run homer by Nick Quintana. The big inning put Arizona up 7-4.

Kendall and Cardenas started things off for UCLA in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of singles. When Arizona starter Quinn Flanagan walked Mitchell to load the bases, head coach Jay Johnson had seen enough and he brought in reliever Avery Weems. John Savage countered by sending Jake Pries to bat for Silva. Kendall and Cardenas both scored when Pries singled to cut Arizona’s lead to one, 7-6. Weems then hit Chase Strumpf to load the bases back up. Jack Stronach singled up the middle tie the game when Mitchell scored. The Bruins’ final run of the inning scored when Toglia hit a sacrifice fly to center which scored Pries to give the Bruins an 8-7 lead.

But, as you might guess, that lead was also short-lived. Arizona came right back and scored three more runs in the fifth off Michael Townsend who left the game with the bases loaded when Savage turned to Jesse Bergin. While two of Townsend’s runners scored on an error, Bergin was able to close out the inning with the Bruins down just two, 10-8.

Cardenas cut that lead in half in the bottom half of the inning when he hit an RBI double which scored kendall. It could have been a bigger inning for the Bruins, but Cardenas was thrown out trying to stretch his double into a triple. Strumpf did tie the game, however, in the bottom of the sixth with a lead-off home run.

The game remained 10-10 until the bottom of the eighth. In the eighth, both Strumpf and Stronach walked to start the inning. Savage opted to send in Jordan Prendiz to pinch-run for Stronach, hoping to scoring the go-ahead and an insurance run. Ryan Kreidler made that a little more likely when he laid down a bunt that moved the runners up. Arizona reliever Luna threw a wild pitch to Toglia that scored Strumpf and send Prendiz to third. That run would prove to be the game-winning run for the Bruins, but, for good measure, Toglia made sure Prendiz scored by doubling to center, giving UCLA a 12-10 lead.

Bruin closer Holden Powell took over from Kyle Mora, who earned the win with 113 innings of scoreless relief. Powell struck out the first two batters he faced and got the third to fly out to center for the final out of the game. It was Powell’s seventh save of the season.

This afternoon, Ryan Garcia (1-0, 2.35 ERA) heads to the hill for the Bruins while Bryce Collins (0-1, 4.43 ERA) is scheduled to start for Arizona. While I’m inclined to suggest that today will be another slugfest, I have a feeling that just writing means it won’t be.

This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats game three open thread.

Go Bruins!!!