A home run derby took place between two of the top-five pitching teams in the nation Saturday.
No. 21 UCLA baseball (18-8, 7-4 Pac-12) and No. 2 Stanford (23-4, 6-2) have the fourth- and second-lowest earned run average in the country, respectively, yet the teams combined for seven homers and 27 hits as the Bruins fell to the Cardinal 13-11 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Though the scoreboard indicated a close contest, UCLA was never within three runs until the ninth frame, and trailed by six or more for five innings.
The Bruins tried to spark a comeback in the final inning, nearly four hours into the game in front of a depleted crowd. Down 13-6, sophomore shortstop Chase Strumpf blasted a three-run homer to left field, and two batters later, sophomore right fielder Michael Toglia hit a two-run homer. That was as close to Stanford’s lead as UCLA came to, as the next two batters flied out.
Toglia tied his career highs of six RBI’s and two home runs on the day, also scoring two runs.
The first seven runs of the game were courtesy of the home run, six of them coming from Stanford.
Zach Pettway started on the mound for the Bruins, suffering his first loss of the year. The freshman allowed eight runs, a double, a triple and three homers in two and 1/3 innings. He came into the game with a 5-0 record and an ERA of 2.23. He had also never pitched less than five innings in a game this season.
Stanford started the game with a three-run home run. The Cardinal added another homer in the second, but Toglia responded with one of his own in the bottom of the frame. Stanford hit another set of home runs before the end of the fifth inning, bringing its score up to 13.
The first five frames lasted two hours and 39 minutes, longer than three of UCLA’s games this season.
Coach John Savage relieved Pettway with sophomore Nick Scheidler in the third, which ended with very similar results. The southpaw went two and two-thirds innings with five runs allowed off seven hits, prompting Savage to go with Tuesday’s starter sophomore Kyle Mora to mitigate the damage. Mora threw the fewest pitches, but lasted the longest, tossing a one-hitter through four scoreless innings.
Stanford’s pitching staff wasn’t significantly better. Its starter Kris Bubic, who had a 0.96 ERA coming into Saturday, gave up seven runs off five hits in four innings. The winning pitcher Austin Weiermiller threw just one inning and allowed a run.
UCLA will conclude the series in a rubber match beginning Sunday at 1 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.