The UCLA Bruin baseball team (39-8, 17-5 Pac-12) took care of business last night, beating the last place Washington State Cougars (10-34-1, 2-19-1), by the score of 6-2. The Bruins can win the series with a victory this afternoon. First pitch today in Pullman is at 2:05 pm PT.
Last night, the teams traded breadsticks in the first and second innings, but UCLA broke the 2-2 tie with a three-run fourth inning and plated another run in the fifth inning, all the while holding the Cougars scoreless in the final seven innings. UCLA starter Ryan Garcia (7-0, 1.27 ERA) secured the win, pitching eight innings and allowing only two runs, one of which was unearned. Kyle Mora pitched a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation.
UCLA started the game with a bang. In the top of the first inning, leadoff hitter Garrett Mitchell, who is about as hot as any Bruin right now, took an 0-2 pitch and drove it over the right field fence, putting the Bruins up, 1-0.
Wazzou answered in the bottom half of the frame, as leadoff hitter Danny Sinatro singled and stole second base. With one out, Dillon Plew, WSU’s best hitter, singled Sinatro home from second, tying the game at one run apiece.
The Bruins would take the lead again in the second inning, on a two-out rally. Noah Cardenas was hit by a pitch and Jake Hirbayashi reached on a fielder’s choice, putting Cardenas on second with two outs. Matt McLain singled to center, scoring Cardenas, giving UCLA a 2-1 lead.
Again, Washington State answered in the bottom half of the frame. Tyson Guerrero led off with a single and took second on a productive out. Cardenas then let one get by him and was charged with a passed ball, allowing Guerrero to take third. Guerrero then scored on a sacrifice fly, evening the ledger at 2-2.
After a scoreless third, the Bruins broke the game open in the fourth inning when Cardenas singled up the middle and Hirabayashi bunted him over to second base. McLain grounded out for the second out of the inning, but the ground out advanced Cardenas to third.
With two outs and Cardenas on third, UCLA recorded three straight singles. First, Mitchell singled up the middle, scoring Cardenas. Then, Ryan Kreidler singled to left center field, moving Mitchell to third. Chase Strumpf then singled to right, scoring Mitchell, but the ball skidded under the right fielder’s glove, allowing Kreidler to score all the way from first base. UCLA led, 5-2.
The Bruins tacked on the final run of the game in the fifth inning when Michael Toglia tripled to left center field and scored on a Jack Stronach productive ground out. That made the score 6-2, and neither team would score any more runs after that.
Washington State only recorded five hits on the day and Garcia retired the Cougars in order in the third, fifth, seventh, and eighth innings.
This afternoon, the teams will meet for game two of the series. UCLA will start Jack Ralston (8-0, 2.57 ERA), who has been pitching very well in his own right. The Cougars will counter with another left hander, this time AJ Block (0-6, 5.86 ERA). Advantage: UCLA.
This is your UCLA Bruins versus Washington State Cougars baseball game two open thread.