The UCLA baseball team (8-1) edged the Sacramento State Hornets (3-5) by the score of 2-1 last night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. If you ask any Bruin at JRS, however, he or she will tell you that the game was too close for comfort.
The Bruins had to rely on their patented version of “small ball” to scratch out the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
With the score tied, 1-1, lead off hitter Jack Stronach was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a passed ball. The speedy Jordan Prendiz pinch ran for Stronach and the substitution paid off for Head Coach John Savage as the red hot Ryan Kreidler singled through the right side of the infield, bringing around Prendiz to score the game winning run with a throw to and a play at the plate.
Kreidler’s walk-off single set off a UCLA celebration, extended UCLA’s winning streak to four games, and raised its record to eight victories against just one (extra inning road) loss.
The Bruins got on the board first in the fifth inning, and Kreidler was involved in that run too. Kreidler and McLain led off the inning with a pair of singles, and both runners moved up on an outstanding sacrifice but by Will McInerny. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out, Jake Pries hit a deep fly ball, allowing Kreidler to score. 1-0 Bruins. UCLA would score no more until the walk-off run in the ninth.
On the game, Kreidler was the offensive MVP as he continued his hot hitting, going 2-3 with a run scored and the game winning RBI.
The Hornets got their tying run on a one out solo home run off UCLA starter Zach Pettway in the seventh inning. 1-1. Pettway was otherwise excellent, allowing only three hits in seven innings. Despite a 1.67 ERA, Pettway is till (0-0) on the season. Such can be the life of the Friday starter, always facing the opponent’s ace.
Kyle Mora did a fine job in the final two innings, allowing a couple of hits and a walk, but striking out two and not allowing the go ahead run, despite allowing two singles in the ninth and giving Sac State hope. Mora earned the win with his effort.
Today, UCLA will send Jack Ralston to the mound for the Bruins. Ralston, who obviously impressed the UCLA brass before the season, has now shown his stuff to the UCLA fanbase, pitching very well in his two Saturday starts, winning both and doing so with a 1.64 ERA.
Ralston will duel with sophomore Scott Randall, who has started two game, beat Pacific last week, and has an even better ERA than Ralston, at 0.69.
Frankly, last night’s game should not have been as close as it was. UCLA needs to be better at the plate with their situational hitting. The Bruins only mustered six hits last night and still managed to strand seven runners. Michael Toglia and Kevin Kendall, who are slumping a bit this season, need to start hitting better.
You will get no complaints from me about the Bruins pitching staff, both starters and relievers, whose team ERA is barely over 1.00.
Today’s game is the most interesting one in my opinion. I am interested to see if UCLA can hit Randall. The Bruins will seek the series win with a first pitch today at 12 pm PT. Game two will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.
This is you UCLA baseball versus Sacramento State doubleheader open thread.