Bruins Handle USC on Sunday, 13-1, to Take Series
LOS ANGELES – The No. 10-ranked UCLA baseball team captured a critical Pac-12 series over crosstown rival USC with a 13-1 rubber match win on Sunday afternoon at Dedeaux Field.
The Bruins (15-7, 4-2 Pac-12) dominated on both sides of the ball, going ahead for good with two runs in the second, putting a crooked number up in four innings, and limiting the Trojans (10-9, 4-2) to three hits over the course of the game.
UCLA got contributions from up and down in the lineup but the four through six spots were especially potent on Sunday, combining to go 7-9 with eight RBIs and six runs scored.
Sophomore first baseman JT Schwartz (3-3, four runs) and junior second baseman Mikey Perez (3-4, three RBIs) both had multiple hits while senior DH Pat Caulfield (1-2, three RBIs) opened the scoring with a two-run home run in the second.
The home run continued a hot streak against the Trojans for Caulfield; in four career games against USC he's gone 9-13 (.692) with 10 RBIs.
The copious run support was more than enough for UCLA starter Jared Karros, who turned in arguably the best start of his career on Sunday.
The Manhattan Beach native allowed just one earned run on two hits, and struck out a season-high seven over a career-long six complete innings.
Karros only allowed a runner on in one of his six innings of work, the second. He opened his day by striking out the side in order in the first, and then – after a two-out walk in the second – retired the final 13 batters of his outing.
UCLA posted crooked numbers in three consecutive innings starting in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Junior catcher Noah Cardenas (1-3, three runs) and Schwartz sparked a two-run fourth with a single and double, respectively, to lead off the inning. The Bruins ultimately cashed in both those runners with sac flies.
UCLA batted around as part of a five-run fifth. The Bruins received four free base runners to start the inning – Kyle Karros reached on a leadoff dropped third strike followed by three consecutive walks – then received run-scoring singles from Schwartz, Perez, and Michael Curialle (2-3).
The Bruins then got into double digits in the run column with a three-spot in the sixth, with all runners reaching after there were two outs in the inning. Perez plated the first run of the frame with another RBI knock, then the Bruins brought two more home on a wild pitch and a bases-loaded Curialle hit-by-pitch.
Right-handed relievers Kyle Mora, Adrian Chaidez, and Sean Mullen all held the Trojans off the board after Karros left the game, turning in a scoreless inning of relief each.
The relief trio was dominant collectively, facing the minimum over the final three innings and striking out the last five batters of the game. Mullen struck out the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to close it out.
Freshman outfielder JonJon Vaughns capped the weekend with a no-doubt solo home run to right field in the top of the ninth, his first career home run.
UCLA returns to action on Tuesday, opening a four-game homestand with a 6:00 p.m. midweek contest against Pepperdine. The contest will be streamed live on UCLABruins.com.