Mullen Leads Combined Shutout Over Oregon State
LOS ANGELES – Junior right-hander Sean Mullen and a quartet of Bruin relievers tossed a combined shutout as UCLA secured a series-clinching 2-0 victory over Oregon State on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Mullen led the way for UCLA (25-13, 12-8 Pac-12) with 5 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing just three hits to pick up his league-high eighth win of the year.
He only had one three-up, three-down frame – the top of the first – but the Bakersfield, Calif. native made big pitches all night to keep the Beavers (28-14, 10-7) at bay.
Mullen froze Jake Dukart on a backdoor slider to strand runners on the corners in the second, rolled up an inning-ending double play ball in the third, and bounced back to post a zero after allowing a double in both the fourth and fifth.
The Bruin bullpen took it the rest of the way after a pair of one-out walks in the sixth chased Mullen from the game, allowing just a pair of singles over the remainder of the game.
Senior righty Adrian Chaidez neutralized the immediate threat in the sixth with a pop-up to third and a routine fly ball to right, junior southpaw Daniel Colwell followed with a 1-2-3 seventh, senior righty Michael Townsend struck out the first two batters of the eighth, and freshman righty Max Rajcic closed it up with a four-out save. It was Rajcic's third save of the campaign.
Collectively, UCLA relievers struck out five over 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
Saturday represented UCLA's third shutout of the 2021 season, and the program's sixth consecutive game decided by two runs or fewer.
The Bruins had just four hits as a team in the contest, but scratched out enough offense to collect the win.
Junior shortstop Matt McLain had the most effective day offensively, going 1-2 with a double, reaching base three times, stealing a career-high three bases, and scoring both of UCLA's runs. Freshman third baseman Kyle Karros added a pair of base hits.
McLain opened the game's scoring in the fourth. He led off that frame with a line double over the left fielder's head, stole third without a throw, and eventually came across on a wild pitch from OSU starter Cooper Hjerpe.
The wild pitch was a rare hiccup for Hjerpe, who struck out nine while taking the tough-luck loss.
McLain used his legs again to score an insurance run for the Bruins in the last of the eighth, working a walk to lead off the frame before moving into scoring position with his third stolen base and scoring on an opposite field single from senior left fielder Kyle Cuellar.
UCLA and Oregon State wrap up the weekend set with a 12:00 p.m. contest on Sunday. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.