Bruins Topped by USF on Opening Day, 6-2
LOS ANGELES – The No. 2 ranked UCLA baseball team dropped a 6-2 Opening Day decision to visiting San Francisco on Friday evening at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Bruins (0-1) struck first in the contest, going ahead on an RBI single by Matt McLain in the third inning, but the Dons (1-0) went up for good with a two-spot in the fourth and ultimately scored in four of their final six turns at bat.
Redshirt senior right fielder Jarron Silva led the Bruins offensively on Friday, going 2-4 with an RBI. Junior catcher Noah Cardenas had the team's lone extra-base hit, a sixth-inning double.
The game's decisive rally was keyed by a one-out triple from USF left fielder Harris Williams in the fourth inning. His liner into the right field corner scored one, and he came across for the go-ahead run moments later on a wild pitch.
The Dons would tack on single runs in the fifth and eighth innings before expanding their lead with a two-spot in the ninth.
"I've got to tip my hat to USF, they played well, they had good at-bats, and they had some big hits," said UCLA head coach John Savage. "We put ourselves in position to score some runs, but at the end of the day we just couldn't come up with a big hit. We had some opportunities that we didn't cash in."
Sophomore left-hander Jake Saum provided a shot in the arm out of the bullpen, as he struck out four of the six batters he faced and didn't allow a hit in 1 2/3 inning outing.
Sophomore righty Jared Karros surrendered three earned on five hits over five innings, striking out five. He was tagged with the loss.
The Bruins had opportunities to score runs later on in the game – UCLA had eight batters reach via walk or HBP on top of the team's five hits – but struggled to come up with a clutch hit, going 2-10 with runners in scoring position.
UCLA's best two opportunities to come back in the game came in the sixth and eighth innings.
Trailing 3-1 in the sixth, the Bruins looked to be in business after a leadoff HBP for Kyle Cuellar followed by a Cardenas two-bagger down the left field line put two runners on with nobody out. UCLA scratched one run across on the ensuing at-bat, as Silva fisted a liner over a leaping USF second baseman, but Dons reliever Alex Pham limited the damage there with an infield fly, strikeout, and a roller to second base.
UCLA would go on to load the bases with two outs in the eighth, but couldn't produce a timely hit.
The Bruins and Dons continue the series at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The contest will be streamed live on UCLABruins.com.