UCLA Welcomes LMU For First Midweek of 2021
No. 14 UCLA Hosts LMU in First Midweek of 2021
No. 14 UCLA (1-2) continues a season-opening homestand by hosting WCC-member Loyola Marymount (1-2) on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. The contest marks the first midweek competition of the year for both squads. Fans can follow along with an audio broadcast and live stats on UCLABruins.com as well as live updates on the team Twitter account, @UCLABaseball.
Projected Pitching Matchups
Tuesday, Feb. 23 - 5:00 p.m. PT
UCLA - Sean Mullen, RHP, Jr. (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
LMU - Diego Barrera, LHP, So. (0-0, INF ERA)
The Series Against LMU
UCLA owns a 57-48-1 all-time record against Loyola Marymount, including a 13-6 mark under head coach John Savage. This is the fourth consecutive season the Bruins and Lions will match up. The two teams have seen plenty of each other in recent years, including five matchups during 2019 (two midweeks, three postseason matchups). UCLA and LMU are currently scheduled to play four midweek matchups in 2021.
UCLA is 13-1 in midweeks over the last two seasons, including an unbeaten 11-0 mark in 2019. The Bruins went 2-1 in midweeks last year, topping Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine at home before falling on the road at UC Santa Barbara for the team's first loss of the year. The Bruins are slated to face just four teams in midweeks in 2021: Loyola Marymount, Cal State Fullerton, Pepperdine, and Nevada.
The Week In Review
The UCLA baseball team opened its 2021 season with a series loss to San Francisco, dropping two of three games. The Bruins were topped 6-2 on Opening Day, recovered for an 8-2 triumph on Saturday, but fell 8-3 in Sunday's rubber match.
- The Bruins were limited to just five hits in a 6-2 loss on Opening Day. UCLA scored first in the contest on a third-inning RBI single from Matt McLain, but USF went ahead for the good in the top of the fourth with a two-spot, ultimately scoring in four of the team's final six offensive innings. Jarron Silva had a team-high two hits for UCLA. Jared Karros (5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 K) drew the Opening Day Start but was tagged with the loss. Jake Saum was solid out of the bullpen, striking out four in a 1 2/3 inning relief outing.
- Keyed by a dominant start from Jesse Bergin, UCLA responded with an 8-2 victory on Saturday. The Bruins led 7-0 after four, with the Dons plating a pair of consolation runs late. Bergin took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, ultimately allowing one hit while striking out six in a 6 2/3 inning gem. UCLA scored in bunches, going ahead with a four-spot in the second and scoring another three runs in the fourth. Four separate Bruins had multiple hits, including a 3-for-5 day from Kevin Kendall and two-double days from Matt McLain and Mikey Perez.
- San Francisco clinched the series with an 8-3 victory on Sunday. The Bruins held early leads of 1-0 and 3-1, but the Dons scored six runs over the final three innings to take control of the game. USF's bullpen - led by 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball from Aidan Lee - posted 4 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Junior righty Nick Nastrini struck out a career-high 11 in a standout start for the Bruins, surrendering just four hits and three earned runs (one of which was charged after he left the game) over 6 1/3 innings. Matt McLain opened the scoring with a solo homer, the first roundtripper by a Bruin this year.
- UCLA was uncharacteristic in two areas that are traditional strengths; the Bruins' four errors were their most in a series since committing five against Washington State from Mar. 16-18, 2018, and the bullpen surrendered multiple runs in three consecutive games for the first time since Mar. 16-22, 2019.
The Bruins have a home-heavy schedule to start the season, playing 10 of their first 11 games of the season at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA leaves Southern California just once between now and the end of March, a three-game set at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) from Mar. 12-14.
In The Polls
UCLA dropped in both national polls that were released on Monday, going from No. 2 to No. 14 in Baseball America's rankings and No. 3 to No. 9 in Collegiate Baseball's poll.
Bruins Ranked No. 2 in the Preseason Polls
UCLA was represented in all five of the major preseason national polls, and was nearly a unanimous choice for the No. 2 national ranking, with Collegiate Baseball (No. 3) the only outlet to have the Bruins at a spot other than No. 2. UCLA was ranked No. 2 in the preseason polls for D1Baseball, Baseball America, USA Today Coaches Poll, and NCBWA. Florida was the unanimous No. 1 selection in the preseason polls.
Mullen Slated to Start Against Lions
Junior right-hander Sean Mullen is scheduled to start the game against LMU on Tuesday evening, marking his first start since his freshman season in 2019. Mullen was stellar in his first career start, on Apr. 30, 2019 at Pepperdine, allowing just one hit while striking out three in three innings of action. The Bakersfield, Calif. native was an effective weapon out of the bullpen last year for the Bruins, giving up just one earned run while striking out 10 in 9 2/3 innings. He had seven appearances, entering just under half of UCLA's 15 games in 2020.
McLain Off to Hot Start, Again
Junior shortstop Matt McLain was the Bruins' clear standout with the bat over the opening weekend. He batted safely in all three games, going 5-11 (.455) with a team-high three extra-base hits and UCLA's lone home run. It's the second consecutive year that McLain has jumped out of the gate; he was batting .397 with a team-best 19 RBIs when the 2020 season was cut short after 15 games.
Filby Impresses at DH
Entering the season with just one career start and five collegiate at-bats to his name, junior RHP/infielder Jack Filby made the most of three consecutive starts at DH against San Francisco. The Sacramento native reached base seven times - second on the team only to McLain - drawing a team-high four walks and adding three singles. He had a pair of singles on Saturday, his first career multi-hit game. Filby has recorded a 3.63 career ERA in 26 appearances out of the UCLA bullpen.