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UCLA baseball secures victory in 1st game of UC Riverside series

UCLA baseball freshman right-hander Alonzo Tredwell stands on the mound. Tredwell closed out the game for the Bruins in their contest against UC Riverside on Friday to record his first save of the season. (Joseph Hsing/Daily Bruin)


UC Riverside1

By Jared Tay

Feb. 26, 2022 12:42 p.m.

Coach John Savage said the scoreline was starting to become all too familiar.

“You certainly don’t want to think like that,” Savage said. “But it does creep into your mind, ‘Here we go again.’”

In both of the Bruins’ midweek games, their pitching helped them secure a lead of multiple runs.

Tuesday, a two-run Bruin lead was extinguished on a ninth-inning grand slam.

Wednesday, a four-run inning in the seventh was the impetus for another blown lead. Three days before, a two-out, three-run, ninth-inning home run from Cal State Northridge prolonged a game in which the Bruins had led the entire time.

As they turned the page on a new series Friday night, the blue and gold again found itself with the lead, with its bullpen tasked with closing out the game.

But with a new closer in freshman right-hander Alonzo Tredwell, UCLA baseball (3-3) did not meet the same fate. Instead, it held on to its early two-run lead to win the first game of the series over UC Riverside (0-5) by a score of 3-1 Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Tredwell had come into the save situation in place of junior right-hander Charles Harrison, who had blown two saves in the first week of the season. Against Tredwell in the ninth, the first Highlander batter squirted a ball past the third baseman. A botched double play put a runner in scoring position.

Though wary of the past week, Tredwell said he wasn’t panicking.

“I know my team’s behind me,” Tredwell said. “I knew (freshman second baseman Ethan Gourson) would pick me up next play.”

Despite a runner on base, the lead was not relinquished. A ground ball that Gourson flagged down deep in the hole marked the second out of the inning. A three-pitch strikeout was the third, and Tredwell pumped both fists to the air in celebration of his first career save that put the Bruins back in the win column.

“(Tredwell) was electrifying,” said sophomore right-hander Jake Brooks.

Brooks, in his second start on the season, kept UC Riverside scoreless through seven innings of work. He allowed three singles, and he did not walk a batter. By the end of the night, the sophomore tallied 12 strikeouts, a new career high and more than double his previous career high of five.

The right-hander struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced. Through the first two innings, he fell behind in the count once to a Highlander batter, striking out the side in both frames.

“(Brooks) did his thing,” Tredwell said. “He did what we expect him to do, which is shove.”

When Brooks came out for his fourth inning of work, his team had given him a two-run lead to pitch with, courtesy of a double into the left-center gap by junior right fielder Michael Curialle. Curialle had come into Friday’s contest with two hits in his last 15 at-bats after he went 4-for-5 on opening night.

That would be Curialle’s only hit of the game, and another 1-for-5 night put the junior at 3-for-20 on the season, excluding the first game of the year.

He’s trying to do too much,” Savage said. “We can’t have our older guys not playing with that experienced mindset. We have so many young players, we need that other piece of the team stepping up.”

Savage said he didn’t think Curialle’s slow start was because of the junior thinking ahead to the looming MLB draft, but it was always something to be conscious about.

“I don’t think he has it, but there is a sickness called ‘Draft-itis,’” Savage said. “I’ve seen juniors struggle, they’re looking ahead and trying to do too much. They just got to play within the system.”

Back on the mound, Brooks allowed one hit in the fifth inning. A single up the middle from Highlander first baseman Joey Nicolai broke up the eight consecutive batters that Brooks sat down since the middle of the second inning.

Brooks’ seven complete innings was the longest he has pitched at the college level. The sophomore is part of a UCLA starting contingent that has allowed one run or less in all but one game and has recorded at least eight strikeouts in four consecutive contests.

After three games of late-inning losses, Savage said the team desperately needed a different outcome.

“That’s what we’re trying to teach these guys,” Savage said. “You’ve got to take a blow and be able to respond.”

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Jared Tay | Sports senior staff
Tay is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the men's basketball beat. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the baseball, men's soccer, men's tennis, cross country and women's tennis beats. Tay was previously a contributor on the men's tennis beat.
Tay is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the men's basketball beat. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the baseball, men's soccer, men's tennis, cross country and women's tennis beats. Tay was previously a contributor on the men's tennis beat.
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