History repeated itself for UCLA baseball Tuesday night.
The visiting No. 21 Bruins (17-7) defeated Loyola Marymount (13-15) for the second time this season in a 13-1 rout at George C. Page Stadium. The first matchup between the schools March 6 ended in a 12-1 home victory for UCLA.
The Bruins picked up where they left off against the Lions, scoring four runs in the first inning. Freshman shortstop Kevin Kendall blasted a two-run homer to start the game, while sophomore left fielder Jeremy Ydens and sophomore designated hitter Kyle Cuellar each drove one run home to make it 4-0.
The offensive explosion came just two days after UCLA dropped a series to California in which they scored only nine runs in three games.
“I think we just did a good job of putting a lot of good at-bats together. We had thirteen hits, we walked ten times … first four guys got nine hits,” said coach John Savage. “A lot of confidence and guys using the whole field.”
Loyola answered with one run in the second inning, but would not score again.
UCLA allowed just four hits and three walks on the night. Savage opted to start right-handed pitcher Kyle Mora, as all of UCLA’s starters pitched over the weekend. The sophomore threw 77 pitches for five and 2/3 innings, giving up one run, three hits, and recording a career-high eight strikeouts in his first career start.
“(Sophomore pitcher Ryan) Garcia went back-to-back days over the weekend and (redshirt sophomore pitcher Jack) Ralston went two innings Saturday – (Mora) was a guy that was available,” Savage said. “He’s got some pitching ability that we like. He went out and did a nice job and struck out eight guys, which is a pretty big number for him because he’s not a strikeout guy. I was proud of him.”
The only other Bruins to record at least eight strikeouts in a game this season are Garcia, who struck out nine in UCLA’s first meeting with Loyola, and junior pitcher Jon Olsen who punched out eight against Michigan State.
“I have enough innings under my belt. Tonight I was able to just go out and be myself and try to execute pitches that were called as much as possible,” Mora said. “Not trying to do too much or prove any points.”
Kendall replaced the normal starting shortstop sophomore Ryan Kreidler, who was moved to third base. Kendall has started in five of the last seven games, hitting .444 during that span.
“We have a lot of depth and a lot of infielders that we like and we just wanted to look at that combination a little bit. (Kendall’s) played well and we thought we’d give it a shot tonight,” Savage said. “When he’s played he has made an impact on the game and he did again tonight.”
Kendall hit 2-for-3 with three runs, two RBI’s and three walks, as well as the home run to start the game.
“We expected to come out on offense this Tuesday and hopefully just get back on track to where we were,” Kendall said. “The runs were hard to come by (against California) but it was good for our offense today to get runs on the board.”
Second baseman Chase Strumpf and first baseman Michael Toglia each had RBI’s in the fourth inning to make it 6-1. The two sophomore sluggers in the middle of the lineup finished with two runs and an RBI apiece. Junior center fielder Daniel Amaral went 3-for-5 with a double and four runs.
UCLA will stay at home this weekend to face No. 2 Stanford in a series beginning Friday at 6 p.m.