Friday, February 28

Baseball seizes Pac-12 title with win over Oregon, ending three-year drought

Junior first baseman Michael Toglia launched his 14th home run of the season to give No. 1 UCLA baseball the lead over Oregon in the eighth inning Thursday night. Toglia leads the Bruins in homers.(Ellie Tsai/Daily Bruin)


No. 1 UCLA4

The Bruins have won the Pac-12 title for the first time since 2015.

No. 1 UCLA baseball (46-8, 23-5 Pac-12) defeated Oregon (27-28, 10-18) on Thursday night 4-2 to win its ninth straight and record-setting 23rd Pac-12 game of the season. With Stanford’s loss later in the night, UCLA clinched the top conference record.

The decisive blow came in the top of the eighth with the game tied 2-2. After senior designated hitter Jake Pries ripped a one-out single down the left field line, junior first baseman Michael Toglia stepped to the plate and sent the first pitch over the left field wall to give the Bruins the lead.

Toglia has now homered in three straight games and has 14 homers on the season, the most by a UCLA hitter since Cody Decker in 2009.

The Bruins got on the board in the top of the second after freshman catcher Noah Cardenas drove in junior right fielder Jeremy Ydens with a single to left.

UCLA added another run in the following inning on a Pries double that plated junior shortstop Ryan Kreidler.

On the mound, junior right-hander Ryan Garcia ran into trouble in the bottom of the second when he walked three batters to load the bases for shortstop Sam Novitske, Oregon’s leadoff hitter. However, Garcia got the fly out to center field to keep the runners from scoring.

The Ducks broke through an inning later, tying the game 2-2. Third baseman Spencer Steer doubled in the first run for Oregon and later scored on a groundout to the right side to even the score.

Garcia settled in after the third and did not allow a base runner through his next three innings of work. The Ducks put a man at second with one out in the top of the seventh, but Garcia struck out the final two batters to finish off his night having thrown a career-high 122 pitches.

“In the beginning of the game, I was missing low,” Garcia said. “Later in the game, I was missing up. It was just about finding that middle release point, and it got better as the game went on.”

With the win, Garcia finished the regular season with a 9-0 record in 11 starts. He also ended with a 1.42 ERA, the lowest for a UCLA pitcher since 2015.

Oregon starter left-hander Robert Ahlstrom kept pace with Garcia after the third, tossing four scoreless innings and allowing just three baserunners between the fourth and seventh innings. He was pulled in the eighth after giving up a single to Pries, who later scored on Toglia’s decisive two-run shot.

Working with a 4-2 lead, junior right-hander Kyle Mora pitched a scoreless eighth and sophomore right-hander Holden Powell tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his league-leading 15th save of the season.

“I can’t say enough about the character and makeup of this team,” said coach John Savage. “They just won one of the deepest Pac-12 conferences I’ve ever seen. It’s the first step of our many goals this season.”

Sports staff

Kenney is currently a Sports staff writer on the softball beat. He was previously a contributor on the baseball, men's soccer, women's soccer, track and field and cross country beats.

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