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Bruins Claim Dramatic 7-6 Win in Oregon Finale

Apr 25, 2021
Mikey Perez

EUGENE, Ore. – Redshirt sophomore first baseman JT Schwartz hit a pair of home runs, including a go-ahead two-run blast in the tenth inning, to lift the UCLA baseball team to a 7-6 victory in 10 innings against No. 13 Oregon on Sunday afternoon at PK Park.

Trailing for a large portion of the game, UCLA (23-13, 10-8 Pac-12) scored in three consecutive innings starting in the sixth to force extras, setting up Schwartz's extra-innings blast.

Oregon (24-9, 10-5) plated an unearned run in the bottom half of the 10th to cut the Bruins' lead to one, and ultimately got the game-tying run into scoring position, but UCLA freshman right-hander Max Rajcic stood tall and got Tanner Smith to roll over to second base for the game's final out.

The Bruins ended up scoring in four of their final five offensive innings, with much of the damage coming via the long ball.

Schwartz started the Bruin charge with a two-run shot into the bullpen beyond the right field fence during the top of the sixth, briefly giving UCLA the lead at 3-2.

Though Oregon responded with a three-spot in the bottom half, UCLA proceeded to bring in a single run in both the seventh and the eighth to knot it up and send it into extras for the second consecutive game in the series.

Jack Filby scored the Bruins' run in the seventh, working a leadoff walk and later scoring from second after Michael Curialle rocketed a single up the middle.  

Junior shortstop Matt McLain led off the next frame by turning on a 2-2 offering from Oregon's Caleb Sloan and sending it over the fence in center-left field, one of the deepest parts of the park. The roundtripper was his team-leading ninth of the year.

McLain was at the center of the go-ahead really in the 10th as well, leading off that frame by legging out a chopper up the third base line. That extra runner turned out to be decisive when Schwartz, the next batter, went with a low fastball and deposited it just over the left-field wall for an opposite field two-run home run.

Sunday marked Schwartz's first career multi-home run day. Entering the weekend with three career dingers, he nearly doubled his output in a five-inning span against the Ducks.

Besides the sixth-inning hiccup, UCLA's pitching staff was solid collectively.

Junior right-hander Jesse Bergin bent but didn't break as part of a five-inning start, allowing single runs in the first and second but holding Oregon off the board the rest of the way.

Though he didn't have any truly clean innings, he limited Oregon to a 2-10 line with runners in scoring position, including an 0-6 mark after the second inning.

His best escape act came in the fifth, as he allowed the first two batters of the frame to reach on a single and an HBP, but bounced back to post a zero with a first-pitch infield fly and a tailor-made 4-6-3 twin killing.

UCLA relievers Daniel Colwell, Adrian Chaidez, and Rajcic teamed up to allow just one hit over the final three innings of regulation to help send the game to extras. Colwell and Rajcic notched UCLA's only two 1-2-3 innings of the game in the seventh and ninth, respectively.

After playing no extra-inning contests over the first 34 games of the year, the Bruins reached extras in the final two games of the Oregon series. It's the program's first time playing consecutive extra-inning games since the Bruins played three straight from Apr. 15-21, 2017.

UCLA has no midweek coming up on Tuesday, and is next in action with a three-game home series against Pac-12 rival Oregon State starting on Friday night, Apr. 30, at 7:00 p.m. The entirety of that set will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.