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UCLA baseball looks to keep undefeated record alive against LMU

UCLA baseball recorded an 11-0 record in midweek games last season and will take on Loyola Marymount on Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Stadium. (David Rimer/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


Loyola Marymount
Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Jackie Robinson Stadium
No TV info

By Will Foote

Feb. 17, 2020 11:35 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 18 at 5:11 p.m.

The Bruins will look to stay undefeated as they face their second opponent of the season.

No. 14 UCLA baseball (3-0) will face Loyola Marymount (2-1) on Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Stadium coming off a three-game sweep over UC Riverside during opening weekend.

“We just want to get better each and every day,” said junior right-hander Michael Townsend. “We’re just treating (the game against LMU) like any other week.”

After losing to LMU in the winners’ bracket of the 2019 NCAA Los Angeles Regional, the Bruins’ two most recent games against the Lions have come under win-or-go-home circumstances. The Bruins won both of those games by scores of 6-1 and 6-3 to advance to the NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional.

Townsend earned the win for the Bruins in their regional-clinching victory over the Lions in June, allowing one hit and recording two strikeouts in 2.2 innings out of the bullpen. The win was UCLA’s ninth in its last 10 games against LMU, dating back to April 1, 2014, a stretch in which the Bruins own a plus-46 run differential over the Lions.

The Bruins will be led by their newest addition to the starting rotation, with freshman right-hander Jared Karros getting the starting nod against the Lions.

“We’ve had some battles (for the fourth spot in the starting rotation),” said coach John Savage. “(Freshman left-hander) Jake Saum was up for that. (Sophomore right-hander) Sean Mullen was competing for that. But, we felt that Mullen was a little more suited for the bullpen, and we needed a wipeout breaking ball from the left-hander out of the bullpen, so Saum allows us to have that.”

Karros’ first career start will mark the Bruins’ third consecutive game with an underclassman on the mound. UCLA limited UC Riverside to five hits over the final two games of the opening weekend series, with sophomore right-handers Nick Nastrini and Jesse Bergin starting games two and three, respectively.

Underclassmen also led the way in home runs for the Bruins, with sophomore shortstop Matt McLain and freshman second baseman Michael Curialle together accounting for all four of UCLA’s home runs during opening weekend. Curialle and McClain occupied the Bruins’ two and three spots in the lineup for all three games against the Highlanders.

McLain’s four home runs in 2019 were good for sixth-best on the team, but the shortstop – who made 49 starts in center field last year – quickly amassed half of that total in the Bruins’ first two games of the season.

The first pitch against the Lions will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

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Will Foote | Sports contributor
Foote is currently a contributor on the baseball beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer, men's volleyball and men's water polo beats.
Foote is currently a contributor on the baseball beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer, men's volleyball and men's water polo beats.
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