Thursday, May 28

No. 1 baseball sets multiple program records, tied for most conference wins

Sophomore outfielder Garrett Mitchell hit .280 with zero home runs as a freshman in 2018. This season, the former top-prospect is batting .362 with six home runs and 37 RBIs. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

The 2019 Bruins could be in the record books for years to come – and they have their offense to thank.

No. 1 UCLA baseball (45-8, 22-5 Pac-12) topped the rankings for a program-record 10th consecutive week and is coming off a sweep led by the offense scoring 26 runs. This is the seventh time the Bruins have scored at least 20 runs in a series and has contributed to the many program records the team has set this year.

Sophomore center fielder Garrett Mitchell, last week’s Pac-12 Player of the Week, has led the UCLA offense this season. He continued his offensive production, batting .500, knocking in eight RBIs and picking up five extra-base hits this weekend.

“(Mitchell)’s becoming the player that we all thought he could (be),” said coach John Savage. “(Mitchell)’s had a terrific year and is a dynamic player.”

Mitchell legged out four triples during the series against Washington, with two coming in the Friday-night win. He now has nine triples on the season and is just one shy of tying the school record set in 1988.

“I’ve just been trying to use the middle of the field, drive the ball and stay on pitches,” Mitchell said.

The Bruin offense has been averaging eight runs per game during their current eight-game winning streak. UCLA has 16 home runs over those eight games with an average margin of victory of nearly six runs.

“We’re trusting our approach and it’s really easy falling into the trap of being a power team,” said junior shortstop Ryan Kreidler. “I think our team has done a good job of beating teams multiple ways. Top to bottom, we’re having quality at-bats and that’s something that’s really hard to pitch to.”

The offense has scored six-plus runs on 18 different occasions at home this season and was able to propel the Bruins to their best regular season home record in program history. UCLA has lost just four games at Jackie Robinson Stadium, and has won 19 of its last 20 games at home.

The weekend’s sweep over Washington clinched UCLA’s first .800-plus regular season win percentage since 1924. UCLA’s Pac-12 record is also above .800, and its 22 Pac-12 wins have already tied the school record for most conference wins with three Pac-12 games left this season.

“You have to be mature to win in this conference,” Savage said. “You can’t win with a bunch of young, talented players who don’t know what they’re doing.”

While the Bruins have won 45 games, they have also lost only eight games this year. If the UCLA can sweep Oregon next weekend, they will have lost the fewest games in a regular season since 1934, when the Bruins dropped seven of its 17 games.

Sports reporter

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

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