The #1 UCLA baseball team got into a couple of heavy-hitting battles over the weekend with Arizona but came out with three straight wins against their Pac-12 foes.
The UCLA baseball team went into the weekend as the #1 team in the nation for the first time this season and they did not disappoint as they got a 3-game sweep against the Arizona Wildcats.
Last week, the Bruins came away with a 2-1 series win against defending national champions Oregon State, which boosted them into the top spot in the country in two separate polls. Though UCLA was facing lesser talent this weekend, Arizona got the Bruins’ attention on several occasions.
On Friday, Arizona tried to set the pace as they jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but UCLA responded by scoring in five consecutive innings and taking the 8-2 lead in the fifth which was backed by a 4-run 4th inning performance. The Bruins added two more in the 7th to take the 10-2 lead. Arizona finally got on the board again in the 8th, but could only bring in three runs, sealing the 10-5 victory for UCLA. Zach Pettiway got his second win of the season and is now 2-1.
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It was a different story on Saturday as both teams were at each other’s throats for the length of the contest. The Bruins had a 4-1 lead in the second behind a 4 run, 4 hit, 3 RBI performance, but in the next frame Arizona responded with 6 runs that were backed by two home runs, one of which was a three-run homer by Cameron Cannon.
In the bottom of the 4th, UCLA retook the lead as the Bruins’ bats continued to fly adding four runs to their total and going ahead 8-7. Arizona once again responded with three runs in the 5th to take back the lead, 10-8. The Bruins managed to score in the next two innings which were topped off by a solo blast from Chase Strumpf in the 6th and was his 4th home run of the season. Two innings later, Strumpf scored off of a wild pitch. Jordan Prendiz added the 12th run of the game off of a Michael Toglia hit as UCLA got the 12-10 marathon win. Kyle Mora was credited with the victory and is also 2-1 on the season.
On Sunday, we saw more of a defensive effort from UCLA and Arizona as only four runs were scored in this one. Toglia opened up the scoring in the 7th inning with a solo home run, his 2nd of the season. Arizona immediately answered back with a run of their own, but a two-run homer by Jack Stronach proved to be the game winner as the Bruins got the 3-1 victory.
Holden Powell came away with the win on this one and his first of the season. Additionally, for his 7 1/3 innings without giving up a run, Ryan Garcia was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. This season he has an ERA of 1.20.
With this sweep, the Bruins remained on the top of both the D1 Baseball and Baseball America rankings. UCLA takes on LMU on Tuesday for a midweek match before they head across town to USC for a three-game series. In their last game, the Bruins had a 7-5 comeback victory over the Trojans in the Dodger Stadium Classic.