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Propelled by strong pitching performance, baseball completes sweep of CSUN

Freshman right-hander Jesse Bergin pitched his longest outing in over a month Tuesday against CSUN, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Bergin allowed one earned run and struck out eight. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


CSUN1
No. 1 UCLA10

By Jack Matull

April 2, 2019 11:55 pm

Flirting with a no-hitter, Jesse Bergin posted his longest start in a month.

No. 1 UCLA baseball (21-5) returned to Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday with a 10-1 victory over CSUN (12-17). Bergin, a freshman right-hander, earned his third win of the season as he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, retiring the first 14 of 15 batters he faced.

“It for sure felt good after struggling a couple weekends in a row, however that may have gone,” Bergin said. “I was able to take back control of how it kind of felt in the beginning of the season, and giving each pitch just as much focus as all others.”

This was Bergin’s first start since March 3 in which he pitched into the sixth inning. In his previous four appearances, he pitched just 10 2/3 innings while allowing 10 earned runs.

Coach John Savage said he saw an improvement in Bergin’s form Tuesday as he struck out the first two batters in the third inning with just six pitches. The very next inning, he struck out the side to bring his strikeout total to eight for the game.

“He commanded his fastball about as well as he has all season,” Savage said. “He looked like he did the first couple weekends of the year.”

His no-hitter was cut short in the sixth inning as CSUN’s first three batters each singled. With the Matadors looking to make a comeback, Bergin forced them into a double play, limiting them to one run.

“He could’ve (finished the inning) but we like our bullpen and it’s obviously one of our strengths,” Savage said. “He did his job so it was time to turn it over to the bullpen.”

UCLA gave Bergin some early run support in the second inning when junior third baseman Ryan Kreidler ripped a two RBI double down the third base line. An error by the Matadors and an RBI double by junior second baseman Chase Strumpf pushed the lead to four.

“It’s huge to get on the board early,” Kreidler said. “We want to throw the first punch and tonight we did a good job of doing that. It really let (Bergin) be comfortable out there.”

The offense tacked on some insurance runs in the sixth inning when junior first baseman Michael Toglia’s triple just missed the reach of diving left fielder Denzel Clarke and drove in two runners. UCLA then brought 10 batters to the plate in the seventh inning, scoring four runs that extended its lead to nine.

“I thought we did a good job of using the middle of the field offensively,” Savage said. “It was one of those nights where we walked and had some timely hitting.”

This was the first time UCLA has swept the season series in four years. With a rivalry series last week against USC and road matchup with No. 2 Stanford later this week, Kreidler said the team made sure to stay focused for CSUN.

“Our big thing is trying to stay present,” Kreidler said. “I think we had a good vibe going pregame, so I think this team is learning how to handle situations like this even though there is a spectacle going on this next weekend.”

The Bruins will go back on the road as they face the Cardinal on Friday at the Sunken Diamond at 6:05 p.m.

 

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Jack Matull | Sports reporter
Matull is currently a Sports reporter. He was previously a contributor on the baseball and cross country beats.
Matull is currently a Sports reporter. He was previously a contributor on the baseball and cross country beats.
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