After a very tight 3-2 UCLA victory on Friday night, the UCLA Bruins baseball team (37-7, 16-4 Pac-12) broke out the bats in a big way yesterday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, crushing the Arizona State Sun Devils, 18-3. The Bruins had twenty-two hits, seven of which were home runs, and 15 of UCLA’s 18 runs came from the long ball.
The Bruins also got an outstanding pitching performance from Saturday starter Jack Ralston (8-0, 2.57 ERA), who tossed seven innings, allowing only three hits, no runs, and striking out eight. UCLA will seek the series sweep today at 2 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks National, Los Angeles and Arizona.
UCLA also scored in each of the first eight innings, with the Bruins only failing to push across a run in the ninth inning.
Ryan Kreidler got things started for the Bruins in the first inning with a sacrifice fly scoring Garrett Mitchell, who doubled to lead off the game. The Bruins doubled their advantage in the second on a Noah Cardenas solo home run, putting UCLA up 2-0 after two innings. Cardenas, the Bruins’ freshman catcher, is truly coming into his own, going 5-for-5 on the day and raising his batting average to a team leading .395.
The Bruins put another bread stick on the board in the third inning when Michael Toglia singled home Kreidler, who had doubled to start off the inning and, later, stole third base. The Bruins truly broke the game open in the fourth inning. With two outs, Cardenas and Mitchell singled, followed by a walk to Kreidler to loading the bases for Chase Strumpf. Strumpf drilled a 2-2 pitch over the left center field wall for a grand slam, increasing UCLA’s lead to 7-0.
UCLA scored single runs in the fifth (Jake Pries solo home run), sixth (Mitchell RBI single scoring Cardenas), and seventh innings (another Pries solo home run), to extend UCLA’s lead to 10-0 through seven innings.
The Bruins really blew up in the eighth inning, pushing eight runs across the plate and sending 14 batters to the dish. All of UCLA’s runs in the eighth were courtesy of the long ball with Toglia starting the scoring with a three-run “no doubt” home run to right field. Jake Hirabayashi, in a pinch hitting role, also homered, a two-run shot to left field. Finally, Mitchell blasted a three-run bomb to left, wrapping up UCLA’s impressive offensive performance.
UCLA couldn’t quite keep the Sun Devils off the board as Bruins reliever Jack Filby allowed a three-run home run in the bottom half of the eighth inning, cutting the Bruins lead to 18-3. Neither team scored in the ninth inning with UCLA’s Felix Ruby retiring ASU in order.
UCLA seeks the series sweep today and Arizona State looks to salvage a win out of the series. The Bruins will send freshman right hander Jesse Bergin (5-0, 3.02 ERA) to the mound. This morning, Arizona State finally announced that senior RHP Sam Romero (3-2, 2.79 ERA) will start today.
This is your UCLA Bruins versus Arizona State Sun Devils game three open thread.