Saturday, May 30

UCLA baseball triumphs over USC 19-2, seals series victory


Sophomore first baseman Michael Toglia hit two home runs and recorded 7 RBI in UCLA baseball's 19-2 victory over USC on Saturday night. The Bruins have outscored the Trojans 35-3 in the first two games of the series. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin)


The Bruins weren’t done blowing out the Trojans just yet.

After beating the Trojans (18-17, 6-11 Pac-12) by 15 on Friday night, the No. 13 Bruins (24-10, 13-4) took them down 19-2 on Saturday to clinch the series win. The Bruins notched eight extra-base hits, including three home runs.

Freshman right-hander Zach Pettway got the nod for UCLA after throwing 6 1/3 innings in relief against USC in March. Pettway, who entered the game with a 2.85 ERA, went 6 2/3 innings deep and struck out four.

“He grinded – it wasn’t pretty,” said coach John Savage. “He bobbed and weaved, that’d be the best way to describe it.”

The righty threw 94 pitches – his fifth outing of his last six with 90-plus pitches – and lowered his ERA to 2.83.

The Trojans notched two hits in the first inning, but the Bruins got out of the jam when sophomore first baseman Michael Toglia reached into the USC bullpen to grab a pop up and end the inning.

“That was fun, that was my favorite play out of all of them,” Toglia said. “Reaching into the bullpen like that – I’ve always hoped I could get the opportunity to make that kind of play.”

After scoring 5 runs in the first inning Friday, UCLA started Saturday’s game with more of the same. A solo home run by freshman shortstop Kevin Kendall and an RBI single by junior center fielder Daniel Amaral gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading into the second inning.

Kendall’s homer was his second in as many days and his third of the season. He finished the game 4-for-5, his fourth multihit game in a row.

The Trojans answered in the second with a solo shot of their own from shortstop Ben Ramirez that cut the Bruins’ lead to just 1. The freshman had just one home run on the season coming into the game.

Holding on to that 1-run lead, the Bruins’ outfielders came alive in the third. Freshman right fielder Garrett Mitchell made a sliding grab on the first pitch of the inning. The very next pitch, Amaral leaped into the center field wall to prevent a extra-base hit.

“The team outfield defense was outstanding with Amaral,” Savage said. “Amaral has really picked it up, he’s playing at an elite level.”

UCLA kept the runs coming, with a 3-run third inning highlighted by a two-out RBI triple from Amaral that scored sophomore second baseman Chase Strumpf from first.

“I saw (the ball) great, can’t really ask for more than that,” Amaral said. “(Assistant) coach (Bryant) Ward does a great job … he tells us exactly who this (pitcher) is and what approach to do.”

Amaral, who is hitting .336 on the season, was 3-for-4 on the day with a double, a walk and a hit-by-pitch to go along with his triple.

The Bruins were up 6-2 in the top of the fifth, and held onto that lead thanks to Mitchell, who robbed a home run from left fielder Blake Sabol. At the plate, Mitchell was 1-for-3 with 2 RBI and a walk.

UCLA hit through the lineup in the fifth, scoring 6 more runs to boost its lead to 10. Toglia launched a 3-run homer to left, his eighth of the year and second of the series.

Toglia wasn’t done there, as he jacked another 3-run shot to left in the eighth inning to wrap up a 7-RBI performance.

“It doesn’t matter when you hit (home runs),” Toglia said. “They come when they come … it’s about trying to put a good swing on the ball.”

The sophomore’s three shots this weekend were just his third, fourth and fifth since conference play began March 16, but he raised his on-base plus slugging percentage to 1.109 on Saturday.

The Bruins and the Trojans will be back at it Sunday at 12 p.m., a chance for the Bruins to sweep the Trojans in back-to-back years for the first time since 2012-13.

 

Sports editor

Connon is the Sports editor and a reporter on 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 and a reporter on the baseball and women's basketball beats. Connon also contributes movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment and co-hosts Daily Bruin Sports' weekly podcast, "Out of Bounds." Connon is a third-year Communication student from Winchester, Massachusetts.


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