UCLA baseball looks to continue win streak with Cal State Fullerton road game
Redshirt sophomore infielder JT Schwartz made his season debut Sunday in No. 6 UCLA baseball’s victory over USC. (Dhruv Singhania/Daily Bruin)
Cal State Fullerton
Tuesday, 5 p.m.
No TV info
March 9, 2021 12:56 p.m.
Following victories in all of their College Baseball Classic contests, the Bruins have the opportunity to earn a season sweep over the Titans.
No. 6 UCLA baseball (8-3) will play Cal State Fullerton (4-6) at Goodwin Field on Tuesday, its third and final contest against the Titans and the only one to be played at Fullerton this season. In their previous games – both played at Jackie Robinson Stadium – the Bruins won 14-1 and 6-1, limiting the Titans to a total of eight hits.
With its last five games in Westwood, UCLA currently boasts a five-game winning streak. The Bruins dropped their only away game thus far, losing to UC Irvine at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark on Feb. 27. Fullerton lost its last two contests, one of which was against UCLA but sits at 2-2 in home games.
Offensively, the Bruins hold slight advantages in both batting average and on-base-plus-slugging, at .256 and .765, respectively, versus the Titans’ .251 and .703. UCLA holds the upper hand in pitching as well, with a team ERA of 2.48, while Fullerton comes in at 4.48. Bruin pitchers have struck out 119 compared to 81 punchouts by the Titans.
Set to take the mound Tuesday is junior right-hander Sean Mullen, who started and won both of the Bruins’ midweek games this season. Mullen pitched in the first meeting against Fullerton in which he tossed five innings and allowed one unearned run.
“(Mullen’s) been one of our best pitchers,” said coach John Savage. “He’s just really stepped up – that’s all you can say. The guy has made pitch after pitch, and he’s been a big part of our success.”
Mullen has also made three relief appearances, only allowing an earned run against San Francisco in UCLA’s second game of the season. He currently holds an ERA of 0.56, the lowest mark of any Bruin starter and the second-lowest among pitchers who have thrown at least three innings.
Redshirt sophomore infielder JT Schwartz made his season debut Sunday against USC following his recovery from an undisclosed injury. As the Bruins’ designated hitter, Schwartz was 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs. Savage said having him back provides a lefty bat in the lineup and a cleanup hitter for junior shortstop Matt McLain, who bats third for the Bruins.
“We had him penciled in the lineup from day one,” Savage said. “(He’s) a left-handed presence, helps our right-handed hitters, helps (McLain) get a real cleanup hitter behind him. … Having (Schwartz) back out there was a good feeling.”
UCLA scored 46 runs in its past four games, compared to 29 in its first seven. Contributing to the Bruins’ recent offensive success is senior outfielder Pat Caulfield, who batted in and scored half of UCLA’s runs in its 10-1 victory against USC on Sunday.
Caulfield said the team has been working on building chemistry, which has contributed to its growing success this season.
“We got to have huge communication between one another, have trust in one another, get connected with everybody in our team,” Caulfield said. “Whether you’re a senior, you’re a freshman, everybody matters. Owning your role and owning your job and doing it for everybody in the clubhouse. With no fans it’s tough to bring the energy but we got to do it every day, and we’re just trying to build an identity as Coach Savage always says.”
First pitch and UCLA’s chance for a sixth straight victory will begin at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.