The no. 1 UCLA baseball team avoided an upset in the Los Angeles Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament as they took down LMU 6-3. The Bruins will face Michigan this weekend at Jackie Robinson Stadium in the Super Regionals.
What a wild weekend it was with the UCLA baseball team. First, they scare the Bruin faithful with a loss to LMU on Saturday, which forced them to play (and win) two games on Sunday, one of which was against LMU.
Then they gave us another scare as they let the Lions take the early lead in Monday’s elimination game before finally flexing their muscles for the 6-3 win. I tell you, being a UCLA fan is quite the full-time job, especially with the UCLA softball team also looking for hardware in their tournament.
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Anyway, the game began with LMU getting two runs in the top of the first inning on a sacrifice fly and a UCLA error. Knowing how quick the Lions have been to strike first, it was a concern, but it was not a time to panic.
The Bruins knew this all too well and when they got their first at-bats, it was their turn to strike. With two on, Jake Pries hit a pop fly that was caught in right field, advancing the two Bruins on base. A mishandled throw allowed both Ryan Kreidler and Chase Strumpf to score, tying the game at 2.
Two innings later, Michael Toglia, who found out he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies before the game, used another sacrifice to bring in Kreidler which gave the Bruins the 3-2 lead. In the next inning, Kreidler was again on base along with Jeremy Ydens when Strumpf came up to bat. On the second pitch, he let one fly over the left field wall, giving UCLA the 6-3 lead.
This was Strumpf’s ninth home run of the season and it could not have come at a better time as it proved to be the game winner. LMU was able to get another run in the top of the fifth, but it would not be enough.
With this win, the Bruins advance to the Super Regionals this weekend and will host Michigan at Jackie Robinson Stadium for a best-of-three series.