The UCLA Bruins baseball team (33-7, 13-4 Pac-12) has taken care of business so far in its three-game series versus the Utah Utes (12-24, 4-16 Pac-12), winning the first two games in comfortable fashion and winning the series. After yesterday’s 6-1 Bruin victory, UCLA has collectively outscored the Utes 11-1 and outhit them 19-6 in the first two games of the series.
Yesterday afternoon, it was Jack Ralston’s turn to throw a Bruin gem after Ryan Garcia tossed a two-hit complete game shutout for UCLA the night before. Although Ralston got off to a rocky start in the top of the first, allowing a two-out single to the dangerous Erick Migueles followed by an RBI double to Shea Kramer. But, Ralston only allowed one more hit in his six innings of work.
Oh and by the way, Ralston bookended those two hits in the first inning by striking out the side. He would go on to strike out five more batters for a total of eight on the day. Ralston retired the last fourteen batters he faced, earned the victory, and raised his record on the season to 7-0. Impressive.
The Bruins have quite the one-two punch with Garcia and Ralston as the Friday and Saturday starters, which should serve them well in the postseason.
Although Utah jumped out to the 1-0 lead, UCLA answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first inning. Back-to-back one-out doubles by Ryan Kreidler and Chase Strumpf evened the ledger and, with two outs, Jack Stronach singled home Strumpf to put the Bruins on top, 2-1, a lead they would never relinquish.
A two-out two-run home run from Michael Toglia in the third inning, hitting from the right side of the plate against Utah lefty starter Josh Tedeschi extended the UCLA lead to 4-1.
Jake Pries hit a two-out solo home run in the sixth inning to make it 5-1 and, in the eighth inning, a two-out Stronach double scored Pries again, resulting in the final score, 6-1.
Five of UCLA’s six runs were scored with two outs. Tedeschi (5-4), who was responsible for all of UCLA’s runs, took the loss for Utah.
Yet again, the UCLA bullpen was lights out. Nate Hadley, Kyla Mora, and Holden Powell pitched the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, respectively, with only Mora allowing a baserunner, a two-out single. These three are are starting to remind me of the Tucker Forbes/Grant Dyer/David Berg bullpen combination in 2015. Speaking of Berg, does anybody think his presence on the UCLA staff this season has helped the UCLA bullpen? You bet it has.
The Bruins and the Utes will play the final game of the series today at 1:00 pm PT, with UCLA seeking the sweep and Utah looking to salvage one win from its trip to Los Angeles. UCLA has confimed on Twitter that Jesse Bergin (5-0, 2.94 ERA) will take the hill for the Bruins while freshman righty Dustyn Schramm (1-1, 5.97 ERA) will do so for the Utes.
Hopefully, the Bruins will break out the bats and break out the brooms!
This is your UCLA Bruins versus Utah Utes game three baseball thread.