On Tuesday night, the UCLA baseball team clobbered UC Irvine, 9-3. Tonight, the Bruins open a three-game series against the East Carolina Pirates. This series is compressed a little. Rather than playing three games over three days, the Bruins will play a doubleheader against the Pirates tomorrow, allowing the teams to complete the series in just two days. It will also set up next week’s schedule which will be a day earlier than usual for all games so that the team does not need to play a game on Easter, which is a week from Sunday.
Last TIme Out
Tuesday’s game against the Anteaters didn’t start out as planned. That’s because UC Irvine scored a pair of runs on an RBI double to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
But the Bruins bounced back to score one in the bottom half of the inning when Chase Strumpf hit a RBI single to score Garrett Mitchell, who had led off the inning with a single himself.
Jesse Bergin managed to calm down in the second inning and he combined with Sean Mullen, Nate Hadley, and Kyle Mora to hold the Anteaters scoreless from the second inning through the end of the 8th.
UCLA rallied for three runs in the bottom of the second. Michael Toglia led off with a single to left and he moved up to third when Kevin Kendall and Noah Cardenas were both hit by pitches. Toglia scored and Kendall and Cardenas both advanced on a wild pitch that tied the game, 2-2. But that was short-lived as Kendall on a sacrifice fly by Mitchell. Ryan Kreidler walked. So did Strumpf after a pitching change by the Anteaters and that loaded the bases for Jack Stronach, but he didn’t get a chance to put the ball in play as he became the third hit batsman of the inning, scoring Cardenas and it was 4-2, Bruins, after two.
After the Bruins send nine to the dish in the second, Toglia started the third with another lead-off single while Kevin Kendall gave the Bruins a pair of runners with a one-out single through the right side.
That set the table for UCLA’s big inning. Cardenas hit an RBI double, which scored Toglia and left Kendall on third while an RBI single by Mitchell scored Kendall and left Cardenas on third. He would score on a sacrifice fly by Kreidler that made it 7-2, Bruins.
UCLA added two more runs in the seventh and junior Felix Rubi pitched the ninth inning in just his third game of the year, allowing one run on one hit and a walk with one strikeout to wrap this one up with a 9-3 final.
#8 East Carolina Pirates
I don’t know what it is, but the college baseball teams in the South seem to always play well. Tonight’s opponent is no exception. The East Carolina Pirates come into tonight’s game with a 25-7 mark and they are winners of three straight, just like the Bruins. They have certainly won a lot of games so far this year, but they are 1-2 in games they’ve played against ranked teams so far this year
That should bode well for UCLA which just finished a big test last weekend against #2 Stanford where the Bruins took two of three on the road. Anything can happen when a pair of Top Ten teams unite and today and tomorrow will be no exception. I think UCLA will take at least two of the three games but I’m not sure it will be tonight when Zach Pettway take the mound for the Bruins. Pettway is 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA while Jake Agnos (4-2, 2.76 ERA) will start for the Pirates.
This is your UCLA vs. East Carolina baseball game one open thread.