The Bruins capped off a perfect homestand with their eighth consecutive victory.
In a matchup of previously undefeated teams, No. 10 UCLA baseball (8-0) beat Pepperdine (7-1) 8-2 on Wednesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium to conclude its season-opening eight-game homestand. The Bruins have outscored their opponents 53-7 this year and only trailed twice through the first two weeks of the season.
“Any good team really takes care of their home ballpark and it was important for us to get off on a good foot, coming off of last season and ending the season here,” said coach John Savage. “To come back to the scene of the crime and play as well as we did, I’m pretty proud of the way that we’ve come out.”
Freshman right-hander Jared Karros drew the start against the Waves and threw five shutout innings, giving up two hits while striking out eight. The righty retired the first nine batters he faced before conceding two hits in the fourth inning.
In his first two starts with the Bruins, Karros has gone 10 innings, allowing only one run to go along with 14 strikeouts.
“(Karros) set the tone for the evening,” Savage said. “He’s advanced for his age in terms of pulse for the game and his competitiveness. You’re only seeing a guy who’s going to get better and better.”
UCLA’s bullpen got the final 12 outs of the game, but gave up its first two runs of the season.
In the top of the sixth inning, sophomore right-hander Sean Mullen gave up a single and a walk to the first two batters. A hard ground ball from center fielder Billy Cook found its way into center field, plating Pepperdine’s first run of the game and ending the bullpen’s 26.1 scoreless-inning streak to start the season.
However, Mullen was able to bounce back, as he combined with sophomore left-hander Daniel Colwell and junior right-hander Michael Townsend to keep the Waves off the board for the rest of the frame.
“Our bullpen’s been unbelievable this season,” Karros said. “Every guy (is) ready to pitch from the start and then when someone gets in a jam, the next guy’s right there, ready to pick him up again.”
In the bottom of the first inning, redshirt junior left fielder Jarron Silva – making just his third start of the season – tucked a flyball inside the right field foul pole for his first home run of the year. The two-run shot also scored junior center fielder Garrett Mitchell, who had singled in the Bruins’ first at bat of the game.
The Bruins tacked on another run in the sixth thanks to a single off the bat of sophomore third baseman Jake Moberg, before extending their lead with four more runs in the seventh inning.
Silva and redshirt freshman first baseman JT Schwartz both tallied RBI singles, while Moberg and sophomore catcher Noah Cardenas added sacrifice flies to run up the score in the four-run inning.
“The offense came ready to play today,” Silva said. “We always trust our preparation and I think that’s what we did today.”
Senior right-hander Kyle Mora allowed an unearned run to score in the top of the eighth inning, but the Bruins quickly countered with a run of their own in the bottom half to make it 8-2.
Despite the six-run lead, junior closer Holden Powell was called upon in the ninth, striking out the Waves in order to secure the win.
The Bruins will play their first road games of the season when they travel to Texas for the Frisco College Classic this weekend. UCLA will face Oklahoma State on Friday, No. 18 Texas A&M on Saturday and Illinois on Sunday.