Bruins Blank Utah in Series Opener
LOS ANGELES – The No. 25-ranked UCLA baseball team used an offensive explosion to record a 20-0 victory over Utah in Friday night's Pac-12 series opener at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Bruins (19-11, 7-6 Pac-12) posted season-highs in both runs and hits (also 20), reaching the 20-run plateau for the first time since Mar. 26, 2017 against California. It was the Bruins' second-most runs in a shutout in program history, trailing only a 22-0 triumph over Long Beach State on Apr. 12, 1978.
Several Bruins had career days with the bat, none more than junior redshirt center fielder Kevin Kendall, who ended the day 4-5 with career-highs in both home runs (two) and RBIs (seven) while finishing a double short of the cycle.
The Whittier, Calif. native clubbed a two-run homer off the batter's eye to cap a go-ahead three-spot in the second inning, cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the third, then smashed another two-run bomb in the fourth.
Other offensive standouts in the triumph included JT Schwartz (3-3, four runs, reached base in all five plate appearances), Kyle Karros (3-4, four runs), and Michael Curialle (1-2, three RBIs, two runs).
Junior shortstop Matt McLain added a no-doubt home run as part of a seven-run fourth, the first of four roundtrippers the Bruins would hit that inning.
Meanwhile, senior right-hander Zach Pettway turned in his best start of the season to lead the Bruins on the mound. The Long Beach, Calif. native completed seven innings for the second time this year, and struck out a season-high 11. He allowed just five hits, only one of which went for extra bases.
Pettway posted a trio of 1-2-3 frames, and seemed to get better as the game went along; he struck out the side in the fifth, went three-up, three-down in the sixth, and finished his day with a two-K frame in the seventh. The performance earned him his first victory of the 2021 campaign.
Freshman righty Jake Brooks finished it up with two scoreless frames, stranding a pair of baserunners in the eighth and allowing just a single in the ninth.
UCLA produced all of its offense with five consecutive crooked numbers starting in the second inning.
Kendall provided the big blow of the first rally, driving a fly ball to dead center for his second home run of the season. Karros opened the game's scoring earlier in the inning with a hard line drive up the middle to plate Josh Hahn.
An inning later, Kendall once again provided the spark for the Bruins with a liner to center field that got off the glove of diving Utah center fielder Jaylon McLaughlin and rolled to the wall for a three-run triple.
UCLA ran away with it after a seven-run fourth that featured four home runs. McLain and Schwartz opened the frame with back-to-back solo homers, followed by a three-run moonshot from Curialle to left, and another two-run dinger from Kendall.
The fourth-inning shot from Kendall marked his first career multi-home run day, and made him the first Bruin to record seven RBIs in a single game since Michael Toglia against USC on Apr. 21, 2017.
UCLA would go on to post five runs over the next two innings, all of one which was unearned. Redshirt freshman outfielder Emanuel Dean was the lone Bruin to notch an RBI over that span, driving in Karros with a pinch-hit single in the fifth.
UCLA and Utah continue the series on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The game will be streamed live on UCLABruins.com.