UCLA Edged in Cal Poly Opener, 5-4
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal Poly eked out a 5-4 win over No. 6 UCLA on Friday night at Baggett Stadium in the opener of a three-game non-conference set, plating a run in the bottom of the eighth and holding on for the one-run victory.
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for UCLA (9-4), which received multi-hit performances from four players in the contest. The Mustangs improved to 7-4.
The Bruins led 3-0 after three on Friday, but were outscored by the hosts 5-1 over the remainder of the game. Cal Poly pulled ahead, 4-3, with two runs in the sixth, then swapped single runs in the eighth inning to provide the game's final scoreline.
Sophomore first baseman JT Schwartz – making just his third appearance of the year and first in the field – paced the Bruins in the series opener, going 3-3 with a walk and a team-high two RBIs. It continued his red-hot start to the season, as he's 8-11 on the year (.727) with seven RBIs.
Junior center fielder Kevin Kendall (2-5, two runs), junior shortstop Matt McLain (2-4, two runs), and freshman third baseman Kyle Karros (2-4) all turned in multi-hit efforts as well.
Schwartz was at the center of UCLA's first two run-scoring rallies, plating Kendall with an RBI single in the first, then driving in another run with a double over the left fielder's head in the third. That capped off a two-run inning that made it 3-0 in UCLA's favor.
Cal Poly began to turn it around in the fourth, punishing the Bruins for two walks to lead off the inning as Brooks Lee snuck a liner inside the first base bag and into the right field corner for a two-run triple. UCLA starter Zach Pettway did an outstanding job to limit the damage there, getting two strikeouts and a groundout to strand the game-tying run at third.
Freshman righty Jake Brooks also got the Bruins out of a tough spot during Cal Poly's go-ahead rally in the sixth. Inheriting a bases-loaded, one-out situation with two runs already in, Brooks induced an inning-ending double play ball to end the threat.
Jake Saum was a tough-luck loser for the Bruins, walking a batter with one out in the eighth that eventually scored on an error for the go-ahead and game-winning run.
UCLA looks to even the series with Cal Poly on Saturday evening. The game, scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. start, will be streamed live by Big West TV.