The Bruins were lights out on both sides of the ball Sunday.
No. 18 UCLA baseball (35-17, 18-9 Pac-12) completed the sweep against Oregon (25-27, 11-16) with a 10-2 victory in the series finale, extending its winning streak to four with just three games left on the schedule. The Bruins have racked up 10-plus runs in four straight games, and their team ERA against the Ducks this weekend was 1.33.
The bats were hot early for UCLA, posting a 6-run second inning to get the scoring started. Freshman right fielder Garrett Mitchell came up with the bases loaded and no outs, driving a single to left for an RBI.
After a sacrifice fly by sophomore third baseman Ryan Kreidler to bring the Bruins’ lead to two, redshirt junior catcher Daniel Rosica walked to reload the bases for sophomore left fielder Jeremy Ydens.
Ydens cleared the bases with a triple to deep right, making it 5-0 UCLA. Ydens credited the Bruins’ situational hitting for their success this weekend, but his 3-RBI hit came with no outs.
“We were able to hit some guys in with two outs and that’s a big deal this weekend,” Ydens said. “I think when we’re all clicking, it’s pretty fun.”
UCLA had four hits with two outs and was 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Ydens was 3-for-5 in Saturday’s matchup against Oregon with two home runs and 5 RBIs, and finished Sunday 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs.
The Bruin bats went through a lull after the second inning, but they were able to get on the board again in the fourth. Mitchell roped a triple to left – his first of the season – and was driven in on a sac fly by Rosica, the next at-bat. Mitchell was 2-for-4 on the day, raising his batting average to .288, the highest it has been since March 2.
Sophomore right-hander Ryan Garcia helped the Bruins hold onto their early lead by tossing five scoreless innings to start the game.
Garcia allowed 1 earned run and was pulled with two outs in the sixth inning. After his start against Cal Poly on April 29, his ERA was 1.89, but it went up to 2.68 after his starts against Arizona and Washington. It dropped down to 2.59 after his performance Sunday, good for second-best among Bruin starters.
“I had a lot of plays made behind my back,” Garcia said. “I’m getting my confidence back; hopefully, I can take that momentum into next week.”
Kreidler smashed a solo homer to right in the bottom of the seventh to get the Bruins their 10th and final run. Kreidler had 2 RBIs Sunday, and was one of five players to notch a multiple-RBI game this weekend.
The win Sunday was UCLA’s final home game of the season, and it finished the year 22-6 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Senior Day celebrations
UCLA held a Senior Day ceremony before the game, honoring senior sinkerballer Jake Bird, Rosica, redshirt junior right-hander Nathan Hadley, redshirt junior left-hander Garrett Barker and redshirt junior right-hander Matt Walker.
“I thought (the ceremony) was great and it really meant a lot to us as coaches,” said coach John Savage. “UCLA is a four-year program … we get to know our players very, very well. We’ve got great respect for them and their families and all the sacrifices they’ve done throughout the years.”
Bird pitched eight innings and allowed 1 earned run Friday night. Hadley faced three batters Sunday, letting up 1 run and striking out one batter. Barker pitched Saturday and Sunday, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. Rosica had an RBI and a walk in the series finale Sunday.
“Honestly, it felt like another game,” Rosica said. “My mom was a little emotional, but once I got past that, it was just another game.”
The Bruins will wrap up the season with a three-game series in Corvallis, Oregon against Oregon State starting Thursday.