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Following a loss against USC, UCLA baseball changes the game in win against LMU

Junior third baseman Kyle Karros make a throw across the diamond from one leg. Karros and sophomore infielder Duce Gourson hit back-to-back home runs in Tuesday’s contest against Loyola Marymount. (Felicia Keller/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


UCLA7
Loyola Marymount1

By Ava Abrishamchian

April 26, 2023 3:13 p.m.

After sophomore infielder Duce Gourson opened the scoring in the top of the first with a two-run homer, junior third baseman Kyle Karros said he wasn’t expecting to do the same.

“I was certainly not trying to do that,” Karros said. “But yeah, we’ll take it.”

Following back-to-back home runs from the duo, UCLA baseball (23-13-1, 9-7-1 Pac-12) never looked back in a wire-to-wire 7-1 win over Loyola Marymount (21-18, 14-4 WCC). With the six-run victory at Page Stadium, Tuesday was the first midweek win for the Bruins since April 4.

As the Bruins continue their road trip, coach John Savage said the beginning of the games are the difference-maker for the team.

“We wanted to come out and set the tone back on the road,” Savage said. “After three games at USC, we want to set the tone for this week. I think it’s a big win to get our confidence back.”

The Bruins held onto their first-inning lead for the duration of the game and expanded on it in both the third and fifth frames.

In the third inning, a single to left field by senior catcher Darius Perry scored Karros, bringing the Bruins’ lead back to three after a first-inning run by the Lions.

Another round of action came in the top of the fifth inning when a double to left field by Perry scored sophomore first baseman Jack Holman. A sacrifice fly from junior outfielder JonJon Vaughns plated the second run of the three-run frame, with Perry coming home for the final score on a double by junior outfielder Carson Yates.

Despite not scoring in the last four innings, Karros believes the early runs set the team up.

“Coming out and scoring first is a huge help for our team,” Karros said. “Sometimes when we have trouble getting that first run across, it kind of just lingers throughout the whole game for us, but when we can get runs on the board early, we can really build off that.”

Freshman right-hander Michael Barnett started for the seventh time this season, tallying one strikeout while allowing one unearned run across 1.2 innings. Sophomore right-hander Nate Leibold relieved him towards the end of the second frame. Leibold took the win in the contest, tossing a career-high 2.1 innings.

After having only three appearances this season, Leibold said he was ready to be on the mound again.

“I haven’t pitched in a while, so I was really excited,” Leibold said. “It was great. I can’t ask for anything more than zeros and the win.”

The Bruins held the Lions to a total of seven hits and one run all game, with similar pitching performances occurring limited times this season. Despite their win Tuesday night, the Bruins fell out of the top-25 on Monday for the first time all season. And with a series loss to USC this past weekend, the Bruins know the next few games are important, according to Karros.

“If we show up and we come ready to play, I like us against anyone in the country,” Karros said. “But we got to make sure we do that. … If we come out, play our game, and play with some energy, I like our chances.”

The Bruins will have another chance in a three-game series against No. 8 Stanford at Sunken Diamond starting Friday at 7 pm.

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