The 2019 UCLA baseball season is starting to wind down. The proof of that is the fact that the Bruins will play their final midweek game of the season tonight when they head to Orange County to face the UC Irvine Anteaters at 6pm PT.
Last Time Out
UCLA broke out their brooms on Sunday as the Bruins finished off a sweep of the Washington State Cougars with a 13-10 win.
UCLA got on the board first in the top of the second when Michael Toglia hit a solo home run to left center for his eleventh homer of the year. But, Washington State got the run back and added one more in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth, the Bruins sent nine batters to the dish. Toglia led off the inning with a single. With one out, Noah Cardenas was hit by a pitch. Kevin Kendall followed with an RBI single to left center, which scored Toglia. That send the Cougars to the bullpen for a pitching change, but it didn’t work out so well for Washington State as Matt McLain cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right center, which put UCLA ahead 5-2. Garrett Mitchell kept things going with a single through the right side and then he stole second. Mitchell scored on Ryan Kreidler’s RBI single to left, giving the Bruins a 6-2 lead.
That wasn’t going to be enough to win on Sunday because the Cougars came right back in the bottom of the fourth and scored four more runs, three of which were earned, off Jesse Bergin. Bergin’s final line was 31⁄3 innings pitched with six runs, five of which were earned runs, on five hits and two walks.
Meanwhile, Jack FIlby, who came in for Bergin, pitched to just two batters, both of whom scored when Nate Hadley gave up a walk and a single. When the inning was done, UCLA’s lead had vanished and Washington State had an 8-6 lead.
The bigger inning for the Bruins was the seventh. Sure, they scored five more runs which equaled the fourth inning, but, this time, the Cougars didn’t erase the UCLA lead in the bottom half of the inning.
The rally started with a walk to Chase Strumpf. Jack Stronach singled to give the Bruins runners on first and second with no outs. Toglia doubled to left center, which scored Strumpf and moved Stronach to third. Stronach then scored and Toglia moved to third on a wild pitch to Noah Cardenas. Toglia scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Hirabayahshi to retake the lead, 9-8. A walk to McLain moved Cardenas up to second and both runners advanced on the second wild pitch of the inning. Meanwhile, Mitchell singled and both runners scored to put UCLA ahead, 11-8. A 1-2-3 bottom half of the inning by Nate Hadley kept the Cougars scoreless and it was still 11-8, Bruins, after seven.
Jake Pries doubled and scored on an infield hit by Cardenas in the eighth and McLain homered in the ninth to put UCLA up 13-8 after eighth and a half.
Holden Powell came into pitch the bottom of the ninth for UCLA. While he did give up a two-run double, which closed the gap to 13-10, Powell got the next two batters to strike out swinging. After he walked Danny Sinatro, he was able to get Andres Alvares to foul out for the final out of the game.
UC Irvine Anteaters
The Anteaters have had a reasonably good season. They are 31-15 overall and currently sit in third place in the Big West standings, three games behind UC Santa Barbara.
This is the second meeting of the season between these teams. About a month ago, UCLA beat the Anteaters, 9-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. When they met then, I gave the Bruins the edge because they were at home, but also wrote that I might not be so confidant if it were a road game.
Well, a month later, I think the Bruins will win the road game of the series, too. More and more, this team is looking like a team of destiny and I don’t think they’re going to lose to a team with nearly twice as many losses as the Bruins have.
This is your UCLA Bruins at UC Irvine Anteaters midweek baseball open thread.