Baseball delivers shutout performance in second game against St. John’s
Redshirt junior right-hander Jack Ralston pitched six scoreless innings Saturday against St. John’s. Ralston tied his career high with seven strikeouts in his first career Saturday start. (Isabelle Roy/Daily Bruin senior staff)
|No. 5 UCLA||9|
By Zack Venable
Feb. 16, 2019 9:59 pm
The Bruins had a low scoring, come-from-behind victory Friday night, but they won in a much different fashion Saturday.
No. 5 UCLA baseball (2-0) clinched the series victory with a 9-0 victory over St. John’s (0-2) at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Redshirt junior right-hander Jack Ralston got the start for the Bruins and threw six scoreless innings with a career-high-tying seven strikeouts. Ralston allowed three hits and a walk in the shutout victory.
“Mixing pitches, staying in the zone and pounding the glove were the biggest keys today,” Ralston said, when asked about his approach on the mound.
The Bruins are temporarily without their ace, junior right-hander Ryan Garcia, due to a flexor injury. Instead, sophomore right-hander Zach Pettway got the nod Friday and Ralston was pushed up to Saturday.
“(Ralston) looked like a Saturday guy,” coach John Savage said. “He’s a different guy right now. He’s throwing harder, so his stuff is better, and he’s throwing more strikes.”
The Bruins’ defense made big plays behind Ralston to keep the Red Storm off the board. The first inning ended with a strike-them-out, throw-them-out by freshman catcher Noah Cardenas in his first collegiate start. With runners on the corners and one out in the second, the Bruins turned a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the inning.
Ralston came back in the third inning to strike out the side, and St. John’s produced one hit and one walk for the remainder of the contest.
“I was the same guy the whole time,” Ralston said. “Using my defense was one of the main things and I kept building off that.”
Redshirt senior right-hander Nate Hadley, sophomore right-hander Michael Townsend and freshman right-hander Nick Nastrini each threw an inning of relief, allowing no hits or runs.
On the offensive side, the Bruins manufactured nine runs, with eight of them coming in two innings.
After the Bruins’ top-three batters went down in order to start the game, they exploded for four runs in the bottom of the second. Freshman center fielder Matt McLain ignited the rally with a triple off the center field wall, bringing home junior first baseman Michael Toglia from first.
Four of the next five batters got hits, including junior third baseman Ryan Kreidler who slapped an RBI triple of his own to right field. Kreidler attributed the team’s offensive success to its consistent approach at the plate.
“When Bruin after Bruin goes up there and has the same approach and same mentality of trying to get the job done and score some runs, that’s when the results speak for themselves,” Kreidler said.
After an RBI single by junior left fielder Jeremy Ydens in the sixth inning brought the UCLA lead to five, the Bruins again put up for runs in the seventh inning.
All four runs came with the bases loaded as a result of a walk, hit by pitch, infield single and walk.
“We strung out at bats together better in (the second and seventh) innings,” Kreidler said. “It’s all about stringing them together because guys can’t do it by themselves.”
The Bruins will have the opportunity to start the 2019 season with a sweep against the Red Storm on Sunday at 1 p.m.