After losing a close one on Friday night, the Bruins responded exactly the way you would hope — with a big first inning in yesterday’s game against the Cardinal.
Garrett Mitchell led off the game with a bunt single and Ryan Kreidler moved him over to third with a single up the middle. Both runners scored when Jake Pries tripled down the right field line as the Bruins took a 2-0 lead. Jack Stronach continued his hot streak with a RBI single which scored Pries.
In the bottom of the first, Jack Ralston hit Stanford’s Duke Kinamon and that proved costly as Kinamon scored to cut the Bruins’ lead to 3-1. Stanford added three more runs, all unearned, in the second to take a 4-3 lead.
Stronach led off the fourth and hit a two-strike pitch to left. Michael Toglia, who’s also been hitting better lately, followed with a two-run homer to give UCLA a 5-4 lead.
Mitchell and Kreidler led off the fifth with a pair of singles just like they did in the first. After a Stanford pitching change, Chase Strumpf hammered the first pitch he saw down the left field line for a double, scoring Mitchell and leaving Kreidler on third. Pries hit a sacrifice fly to left for the first out of the inning that scored Kreidler and brought up Stronach, who doubled down the right field line and brought in Strumpf. With the score now 8-4, Bruins, Stronach was able to move over to third on a wild pitch and score when Toglia grounded out.
That gave Ralston a comfortable 9-4 lead, but maybe it was a little too comfortable as he gave up a homer to Stanford’s lead-off hitter.
UCLA added another pair of runs in the seventh after Strumpf reached on an error and Stronach picked up his fourth hit of the game. They, then, scored when Toglia doubled to right to make it 11-5.
Ralston worked five innings and gave up all five Stanford runs, but only two were earned. He gave up six hits and four walks while striking out five, earning his fifth win of the season. Jesse Bergin pitched a flawless sixth and seventh while Nate Hadley and Holden Powell threw the eighth and ninth, respectively with no hits, walks or runs to wrap up the win.
This afternoon, Ryan Garcia looks to help the Bruins win the series when the teams meet for the rubber game of the series. Considering that the teams have split the first two, it seems safe that whichever team is able to win today’s game will be the #1 team in the country when the polls come out this week.
This is your UCLA vs. Stanford baseball rubber game open thread.