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No. 8 UCLA Battles UC Irvine in Weekend Series

Feb 25, 2021
Mikey Perez (photo: Jesus Ramirez)

Listen | Live Stats | Game Notes (PDF)

No. 8 UCLA (2-2) vs. UC Irvine (3-0)
Friday, Feb. 26, 2020 - 5:00 p.m. PT (at UCLA)
Saturday, Feb. 27, 2020 - 1:00 p.m. PT (at UCI)
Sunday, Feb. 28, 2020 - 2:00 p.m. PT (at UCLA)

Location: Jackie Robinson Stadium (Fri/Sun) / Anteater Stadium (Sat)
Live Streams: Friday/Sunday | Saturday
Audio: UCLA Lean Player
Audio Talent: Tim Wilhelm
Live Stats

UCLA Faces UC Irvine in Non-Conference Series    
No. 8 UCLA (2-2) engages Big West-member UC Irvine (3-0) this weekend in a home-and-away series. The Bruins will host the Anteaters at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., and will travel to Orange County for a contest at Anteater Ballpark starting at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. All three games of the series will be live streamed. 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
Friday, Feb. 26 - 5:00 p.m. PT (at UCLA)
UCLA - Jared Karros, RHP, So. (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
UCI - Trenton Denholm, RHP, Jr. (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
Saturday, Feb. 27 - 1:00 p.m. PT (at UCI)
UCLA - Jesse Bergin, RHP, Jr. (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
UCI - Peter Van Loon, RHP, Jr. (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sunday, Feb. 28 - 2:00 p.m. PT (at UCLA)
UCLA - Nick Nastrini, RHP, Jr. (0-0, 4.26 ERA)
UCI - Nick Pinto, LHP, Fr. (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

The All-Time Series Against UC Irvine    
UCLA owns a 57-33-1 all-time record against UC Irvine, including a 23-12 mark under head coach John Savage. The Bruins have lost the season series to UCI just once since 2010. UCLA and UC Irvine were scheduled to meet for a pair of midweeks in 2020 - one home and one away - before the season was cut short in early March. This is just the second time ever that the two programs are meeting for a three-game weekend series during the regular season, with the Bruins taking two of three in 2016 (the series was set up the same way as this weekend, with Friday and Sunday being played in Los Angeles and Saturday in Irvine). Exempting 2020, the Bruins and Anteaters have met every year since 2004, a streak of 16 consecutive seasons. 

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 recovered with a 5-2 victory over Loyola Marymount on Tuesday night. 

  • 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 against USF 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 got back to .500 with a 5-2 victory over Loyola Marymount on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Sean Mullen led the Bruins to the win with 7 1/3 strong innings, allowing two unearned runs and walking none while striking out a career-high seven batters. UCLA went ahead for good with four runs in the sixth, stringing together three singles early in the inning, taking advantage of an LMU miscue on a sac bunt to plate the game-tying run, then bringing in two more runs - including the game-winning run - on an RBI groundout and wild pitch. 

Home Cooking    
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 before the end of March, a three-game set at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) from Mar. 12-14. 

Bergin Named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week    
Jesse Bergin was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week on Wednesday after holding San Francisco to one hit over 6 2/3 shutout innings last weekend. It was the first weekly league honor in Bergin's career. He was also a nominee for UCLA's Student-Athlete of the Week Award. Bergin took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Dons; though he did eventually allow a hit - a two-out single in the seventh - he ultimately finished his day with six strikeouts, no runs allowed, and one walk. Among all Pac-12 pitchers to start a game last week, he both had the longest outing at 6.2 innings, and allowed the fewest hits. 

In This Week's Polls    
UCLA appeared in all four major national polls that were updated this week, ranking as high as No. 8 (D1Baseball) and remaining top-10 in the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball rankings (No. 9 in both). UC Irvine is receiving votes this week. 

Quality Control    
UCLA's starting pitching has opened the year on a strong note, with Bruin starters combining for a 2.13 ERA and 10.3 K/9 ratio through the season's first four games. UCLA starters have allowed no earned runs in two of four games, and three earned runs or fewer in all four contests. Heading into the weekend, UCLA has the Pac-12 leader in strikeouts (Nick Nastrini, 11), ERA (Jesse Bergin, 0.00 in 6.2 IP), and innings pitched (Sean Mullen, 8.1 IP). The Bruins have received a quality start in three consecutive games.