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Baseball puts up strong showing with season-high hits in win over Texas A&M

Senior left fielder Kyle Cuellar hit his first home run since March 10, 2017, in No. 10 UCLA baseball’s 10-2 win over No. 18 Texas A&M. The two-run long ball helped the Bruins to their 10th straight victory and their first over a ranked opponent this season. (Dhruv Singhania/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


No. 10 UCLA10
No. 18 Texas A&M2

By Will Foote

March 1, 2020 1:12 a.m.

The Bruins faced off against one of their toughest opponents yet – but managed to set season-best performances across the board.

No. 10 UCLA baseball (10-0) beat No. 18 Texas A&M (10-2) 10-2 on Saturday in its second game of the Frisco College Classic to notch its tenth consecutive win to open the season. The win was the Bruins’ first against a ranked opponent in 2020, and they recorded season highs in hits and walks and tied a season low in runs allowed.

The offense got the scoring going early, plating two runs in the top of the first inning for the third game in a row. Redshirt junior designated hitter Jarron Silva – hitting in the No. 2 spot – singled with one out, and the next batter – sophomore shortstop Matt McLain – hit his team-high third home run of the season. The shortstop also leads the Bruins with 13 RBIs this year.

The Aggies got a run in the bottom of the first after the leadoff hitter, second baseman Bryce Blaum, struck out but reached first base on a dropped third strike. Sophomore right-hander Nick Nastrini threw two wild pitches to the next batter, advancing Blaum to third base, before he scored on a groundout.

In the top of the second, UCLA had the bases loaded with only one out, but failed to score. The second inning was the first of five frames that the Bruins left multiple runners on base, running up their tally up to 15 in the game.

After leaving the bases loaded an inning earlier, the Bruins came back with another two-run home run in the third. Senior left fielder Kyle Cuellar hit his first home run of the season – his first long ball since March 10, 2017, against Texas – extending the Bruins’ lead to three.

UCLA’s biggest inning of the day came in the sixth, when the team scored four runs, bringing the score to 9-2. Sophomore catcher Noah Cardenas, sophomore second baseman Mikey Perez, junior center fielder Garrett Mitchell and Silva all helped knocked in runs in the frame.

Making his third start of the season, Nastrini went five innings and gave up two runs. The righty allowed only one hit – a one-out home run in the fourth inning by catcher Hunter Coleman – but walked four Aggies and hit one batter. Nastrini finished the game with a season-high eight strikeouts.

After Nastrini was pulled, the Bruins’ bullpen combined to throw four no-hit innings, walking three while striking out six. The bullpen has allowed just two earned runs in 36.1 innings of work this season – good for a 0.49 ERA.

UCLA will play its last game of the Frisco College Classic on Sunday against Illinois at 9 a.m.

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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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