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UCLA baseball looks to secure seven-game winning streak in upcoming Oregon series

Redshirt senior outfielder Kyle Cuellar has four multi-hit games in his last six contests for UCLA baseball ahead of a three-game weekend series against No. 13 Oregon in Eugene. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


No. 13 Oregon
Friday, 6 p.m.

Eugene, Oregon
Oregon Live Stream
No. 13 Oregon
Saturday, 2 p.m.

Eugene, Oregon
Oregon Live Stream
No. 13 Oregon
Sunday, 12 p.m.

Eugene, Oregon
Oregon Live Stream

By Olivia Simons

April 23, 2021 1:56 p.m.

With the opportunity to earn a season-best seven-game winning streak, the Bruins will take on their highest-ranked opponent of the season.

UCLA baseball (22-11, 9-6 Pac-12) will travel to Eugene for a three-game set starting Friday against No. 13 Oregon (22-8, 8-4). Leading up to the series, the Bruins have played only one ranked team this season, then-No. 17 Arizona, from which they took two of three games.

“I think it’s going to be a good atmosphere, good energy,” said redshirt senior outfielder Kyle Cuellar. “I expect it to be very competitive and just high energy each game. I’m just looking forward to some good games against a good opponent.”

The Bruins are currently riding a six-game winning streak, tied for their highest mark this season. The offense has scored 65 runs over the stretch, outscoring their opponents by 53 runs.

Coach John Savage said heading into the Oregon series it is important the team continues to focus on what has allowed it to be successful in recent games.

“Each weekend you better treat the same – you got to be prepared to play, you got to make sure you’re doing your homework on them and keep on doing the things that are allowing us to be successful,” Savage said. “We’re pitching and playing good defense and we have a lot of quality at-bats. … Right now we’re doing a lot of quality things to give us good opportunities.”

The Ducks, comparatively, have won five of their last six contests, scoring 53 runs while allowing 24, all against teams that boast .500 or better winning percentages. The Bruins’ opponents over their last six games all hold losing records except for Stanford, including a 9-21 mark for Utah, which UCLA scored 42 runs against last weekend.

Oregon currently sits at third place in the Pac-12, while UCLA will start the weekend in the fifth spot.

“(I’m excited for) just facing a really high-level team,” said junior left-hander Daniel Colwell. “I know Oregon’s up there in the Pac, we’re up there in the Pac so it’s just, the better the competition you got to be ready for it. You want to be playing your best to play the best.”

Offensively, the Bruins have a leg up in batting averages at .296 to the Ducks’ .278, as well as a .854 on-base plus slugging percentage to the Ducks .810. The Bruins have launched 22 home runs in their last 10 games to raise their OPS while the Ducks have only hit seven.

Starting the first game of the series for the Bruins is senior right-hander Zach Pettway, who is coming off seven shutout innings against Utah on April 16 in which he struck out 11 without allowing a walk.

Following Pettway will be junior right-hander Sean Mullen for his third-career Saturday start. Mullen is the Bruins’ strikeout leader and holds the lowest earned run average among starters, and is tied for second in strikeouts in the conference with 61. His seven wins this season are a Pac-12-high.

Cuellar said UCLA’s win at Pepperdine on Tuesday will help it carry some energy into its series in the Beaver State.

“I think already being on the road this week, getting on the bus and going up to Malibu is going to help with getting on a plane and heading up to Oregon,” Cuellar said. “I think once we get up there we’re just going to have to have a good practice there Thursday, get comfortable with their facility and sort of just carry that momentum into the weekend.”

First pitch against the Ducks is at 6 p.m. Friday at PK Park.

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Olivia Simons | Managing editor
Simons is the 2022-2023 managing editor. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats.
Simons is the 2022-2023 managing editor. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats.
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