Monday, September 24

Baseball shuts out USC to complete series sweep


Freshman infielder Michael Toglia knocked in six runs Saturday evening, three of which were from a three-run home run in the UCLA baseball team's series finale against USC. The Bruins swept the Trojans with two close wins and a 13-0 shutout over the weekend. (Habeba Mostafa/Daily Bruin)

Freshman infielder Michael Toglia knocked in six runs Saturday evening, three of which were from a three-run home run in the UCLA baseball team's series finale against USC. The Bruins swept the Trojans with two close wins and a 13-0 shutout over the weekend. (Habeba Mostafa/Daily Bruin)


UCLA baseball brought out the brooms against its crosstown rival Saturday.

The Bruins tallied hit after hit, took advantage of the Trojans’ defensive blunders and didn’t commit any fielding errors despite the high winds blowing into Dedeaux Field.

UCLA (24-20, 13-8 Pac-12) captured the series sweep against USC (19-25, 6-15) with a 13-0 victory in the finale after the Bruins won the first two games 2-0 and 4-2, respectively.

[Related: Jake Bird leads UCLA’s 4-2 victory in second game against USC]

“It was unbelievable,” said freshman right fielder Michael Toglia. “To come in and feel this rivalry and the energy, passion and emotion behind everything and … take three in a row, it’s unbelievable and it feels great.”

USC’s pitching staff couldn’t silence UCLA’s bats for most of Saturday evening.

All nine of the Bruins’ starters notched a hit and four players had multihit games. The team struck out just five times overall in 43 at-bats.

Toglia continued his hot stretch at the plate by launching a three-run home run in the sixth inning and stroking a pair of doubles. As of Sunday, he’s hitting .356 in conference play with a .695 slugging percentage.

Senior left fielder Brett Stephens reached base five times and sophomore center fielder Daniel Amaral tallied three hits in his return from a concussion he endured last week against Cal Poly.

“We were tough in the box,” Stephens said. “We were tough outs, we didn’t give anything away, we punished mistakes, we took balls, hit strikes and a lot of good things.”

On the mound, UCLA’s staff recorded its second shutout of the series.

Sophomore starter Jon Olsen hurled five innings, striking out seven and allowing just three hits while throwing 99 pitches. He worked himself into trouble in the third after yielding back-to-back hits and a walk to load the bases, but struck out USC’s John Thomas with two outs to keep the Trojans at bay.

“He had a lot of, I guess you could say, stress innings – a lot of stress at-bats,” said coach John Savage. “They fought him to say the least. … He won most of the battles, it just took a lot out of him.”

A different pitcher took the mound in each of the final four innings to close out the game for the Bruins. They surrendered two hits, racked up four strikeouts and held four runners on base combined.

[Related: UCLA baseball takes down USC 2-0, prepares for Friday matchup]

The weekend’s series sweep was the first sweep of the Trojans since 2013.

For the freshmen, it was an introduction to the renowned rival, but for seniors, it was a fitting end for possibly their last faceoff with USC.

“I’ve been on both sides of it now,” Stephens said. “It definitely feels good to finish against these guys the right way. I’ll always remember sweeping the Trojans when I was a senior.”

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