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Freshmen power UCLA baseball to 8-3 victory over Stanford

Freshman outfielder Dean West settles under a flyball in left field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. West went 3-for-3 with 3 RBIs in Friday night’s game. (Michael Gallagher/Daily Bruin)



By Noah Massey

May 18, 2024 10:32 a.m.

Dean West stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and two down in the sixth.

The freshman outfielder smacked a single into right field – scoring two and propelling the Bruins to their eventual victory.

UCLA baseball (18-33, 8-21 Pac-12) defeated Stanford (20-31, 11-18) in its penultimate game by a score of 8-3. Two four-run rallies in the sixth and eighth innings, respectively, assembled the Bruins’ eight runs Friday night.

West went 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs while third baseman and fellow freshman Roch Cholowsky added another three hits on the night. UCLA’s freshmen combined for eight of the Bruins’ 12 hits on the night.

“A lot of young guys are getting a lot of experience,” said coach John Savage. “They’re being productive and are playing well.”

The Bruins fell behind early, courtesy of a three-run Cardinal rally off Michael Barnett in the second frame. But the sophomore right-hander recovered from the early blow – finishing the night with seven innings, five strikeouts and not one more run allowed.

“Barnett was really good,” Savage said. “He wasn’t razor-sharp, but he competed. He made pitches when he had to.”

The Bruin offense struggled to begin the game, amassing only two hits while failing to get past first base through the first five innings.

In the sixth, however, junior right fielder AJ Salgado led off a rally with a one-out double. After a groundout moved Salgado to third, the next five batters reached safely – capped off by West’s two-RBI single to right.

“I was focused on seeing the ball,” West said. “Not trying to do too much and hit it hard in play”

Two innings later, the Bruins added on with another two-out rally. UCLA’s hitters reached base six straight times, with West starting the scoring with his second RBI hit of the day and freshman outfielder Phoenix Call finishing it with his first extra-base hit of the season – an RBI double.

“Just not giving up on the inning just because there are two outs,” Cholowsky said. “We want to fight and stay with our ABs. It showed today.”

The Bruins thrived in two-out situations – totaling 11 of their 12 hits and all eight of their runs in two-out situations. Combined with Thursday’s affair, the Bruins scored 14 of their 16 runs against the Cardinal with two outs.

Freshman right-hander Cal Randall tossed two shutout innings in relief with three strikeouts to record his first career save. Following the second inning, Barnett and Randall combined for seven shutout innings where they allowed just three hits.

Saturday is Senior Day at Jackie Robinson Stadium, with the Bruins playing their final game of the season – having been eliminated from conference playoff contention.

“We should not be finishing our season tomorrow,” Savage said. “That’s something that’s going to eat me up for a long, long time.”

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Noah Massey
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