This afternoon, the UCLA baseball team staved off elimination in the Los Angeles Regional by beating the Baylor Bears, 11-6. This game looked like it was going to be a high-scoring affair from the get-go as both teams put up crooked numbers in the first inning and a half.
UCLA got the scoring started in the bottom of the first when Jake Pries hit a two-run homer off Baylor starter Tyler Thomas, but the Bears came right back in the top of the second.Andy Thomas, no relation to Tyler, started the inning with a double and he scored when Davis Wendzel also doubled. After Cole Haring put Baylor up 3-2 with a two-run home run, John Savage wasted no time in going to his bullpen and Jessie Bergin was done in this game after pitching just one-plus inning.
The good thing about that is that it does leave Bergin as an option to start tonight’s game against Loyola Marymount, but we’ll have to see who takes the mound to start that one.
In the bottom of the third, Garrett Mitchell hit a one-out triple and tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Kreidler. But, again, the Bears came right back in the top of the fourth when Haring hit his second homer of the game, this one off Felix Rubi who had come in for Bergin, to make it 4-3, Baylor.
The bottom of the fourth saw UCLA take the lead for good. Jake Pries walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on a passed ball. Michael Toglia slapped a ball through the right side to give the Bruins runners on the corners with no outs and Jeremy Ydens doubled to center scoring both Pries and Toglia to put UCLA up 5-4. Noah Cardenas singled to move Ydens to third and Stronach drove him in with a sacrifice fly that made it 6-4, Bruins.
John Savage went to the bullpen again to start the fifth and brought in Michael Townsend, who walked the first batter he faced. After giving up a one-out single which gave the Bears runners on the corners, Savage called on Nate Hadley to try to end the Baylor threat. Unfortunately, a wild pitch allowed the Bears to score a run, but that’s all they got and it was 6-5 midway through the fifth.
Jake Pries got another Bruin rally going in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out double. Toglia followed with a two-run blast which landed on top of the UCLA batting facility beyond the right field fence. Toglia’s homer gave UCLA an 8-5 lead and proved to be the game-winning hit for the Bruins. But, UCLA wasn’t done in the fifth. Noah Cardenas decided to join the home run party with a shot deep to left that gave the Bruins a 9-5 lead.
In the final four innings, Baylor could only muster one more run in the top of the sixth while the Bruins added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Kreidler hit his ninth homer of the season, this one to deep center, after Mitchell had hit his second triple of the game. That gave UCLA an 11-6 lead while Kyle Mora and Holden Powell combined for a scoreless final three innings to give the Bruins the win.
Felix Rubi earned the win for pitching three innings and holding Baylor to just one run on one hit and a walk. It’s just his second win of the season against no defeats.
Now, UCLA will need to win another elimination game tonight when they face Loyola Marymount in Game 6 of the LA Regional at 6 pm PT. At this point, it’s not clear on what channel the game will be televised. That’s because the length of the UCLA softball game has wrecked havoc on ESPN’s schedule.
The network has moved Baseball Tonight to ESPN2 because the second WCWS semifinal is airing on ESPN. The Yankees and Red Sox are scheduled to air on ESPN at 4 pm PT, but it doesn’t look like the Oklahoma-Alabama WCWS game will be over by then. So, it’s possible the Yankees-Sox game could air on the Deuce, but it’s also possible they could flip the WCWS game over to the Deuce. If Oklahoma wins and the game ends before 6 pm PT. UCLA’s game could air on the channel that the WCWS game finishes on. Alternatively, it’s also possible that the UCLA-LMU game will air on ESPNU.
Based on the NCAA formula, it looks like LMU will be designated as the home team in tonight’s matchup. If the Bruins can beat the Lions tonight, UCLA will be the home team tomorrow night.
But, first, John Savage and company need to get past the Lions. Can the Bruins keep their bats going after this afternoon’s slugfest? Hopefully.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Loyola Marymount Lions LA Regional Game 6 open thread.