Friday, July 19

UCLA baseball sweeps USC, gains seventh consecutive Pac-12 win

Right-hander Kyle Mora took the mound in the seventh inning – moments after a Trojan homer cut the Bruins' lead to 1 run. The sophomore would fire two scoreless innings in the UCLA victory. (Ken Shin/Daily Bruin staff)

Right-hander Kyle Mora took the mound in the seventh inning – moments after a Trojan homer cut the Bruins' lead to 1 run. The sophomore would fire two scoreless innings in the UCLA victory. (Ken Shin/Daily Bruin staff)

The Bruins outscored the Trojans 42-6 over the course of the weekend, completing a three-game sweep against USC for the second year in a row.

No. 13 UCLA baseball (25-10, 14-4 Pac-12) defeated USC (18-18, 6-12) with a score of 7-3 on Sunday afternoon, a win that also extended the Bruins’ Pac-12 winning streak to seven games.

Sophomore right-hander Ryan Garcia got the nod on the mound, making the first Sunday start of his career. After pitching 3 2/3 on Tuesday night in a loss against UC Irvine, Garcia pitched six scoreless innings Sunday. The righty was quick to credit his team’s offense for his success Sunday.

“The past couple days, our pitchers got a lot of run support,” Garcia said. “It carried over to today, and it’s pretty comfortable pitching.”

He allowed two hits and one walk on 93 pitches, his longest start of the season. Coach John Savage said Garcia improved on his outing from last week, but that the sophomore still faced too many long at-bats and 3-2 counts.

“You’re just walking on a tightrope a little bit when you get into those counts,” Savage said. “But at the end of the day, you get a hitter out, you get a hitter out.”

Garcia dropped his ERA from 2.08 to 1.77 and notched his fourth win of the season.

The Bruins loaded the bases in the second, but were only able to squeeze out one run. Redshirt junior catcher Daniel Rosica laid down a suicide squeeze that scored junior designated hitter Jake Pries from third.

Junior center fielder Daniel Amaral singled to lead off the fourth and advanced to second on a balk by pitcher Quentin Longrie. Amaral scored two batters later on a wild pitch to make it a 2-0 game.

Rosica came up in the sixth with two outs and Amaral on third, and lined a single up the middle to put the Bruins up 3-0. Rosica had just two RBIs on the season coming into the series, but an RBI Friday and a two-RBI performance Sunday brought his season total up to five.

“Personally, I’m finding a little more rhythm, especially at the plate,” Rosica said. “It’s more so just me being more aggressive, rather than trying to look for a perfect pitch.”

The Trojans made a late push in the seventh when sophomore reliever Nick Scheidler came in for Garcia. After the leadoff hitter was walked on four pitches, center fielder Lars Nootbaar homered to center to make it a 3-2 game.

Sophomore right-hander Kyle Mora was brought in and retired the next three Trojans in order, finishing the inning with a pop-up in foul territory that sophomore first baseman Michael Toglia caught while leaning into the USC dugout.

The Bruins pulled ahead in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs to extend their lead to five. Sophomore second baseman Chase Strumpf roped a double to right to lead off the inning and was driven in by a double by Toglia. Sophomore pinch hitter Jack Stronach and freshman right fielder Garrett Mitchell both tacked on RBIs to put UCLA up 7-2.

“(USC is) a very, very good defensive team,” Savage said. “We just kept on competing and grinding and ended up cashing in.”

Strumpf, Toglia, Amaral, Mitchell and sophomore left fielder Jeremy Ydens all had multi-hit games, wrapping up a weekend with 19 Bruin extra-base hits.

UCLA gets back to action Tuesday night at home against Cal State Fullerton at 6 p.m.

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Sports editor

Connon is the Sports editor and a writer for the football and men's basketball beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the baseball, men's soccer, women's golf, men's golf and cross country beats. Connon currently contributes movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment as well. He was previously a reporter for the women's basketball and baseball beats. Connon is a second-year pre-communications major from Winchester, Massachusetts.

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