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Bruins Top Nevada, Clinch Undefeated Record in Midweeks

May 18, 2021
Kevin Kendall (photo: Scott Chandler)

LOS ANGELES – The No. 18-ranked UCLA baseball team posted an 11-3 win over Nevada on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium, clinching an undefeated record in midweek competition for an entire season for the second time in the last three years.

The Bruins improved to 31-16 overall with the win and end the year 8-0 in Tuesday games. It marks the third time under head coach John Savage that UCLA has gone undefeated in midweek games for an entire season (2012, 2019).

Nevada, who entered the game having won 11 of its last 12, dropped to 21-18.

UCLA built an early lead and was able to hang on to the advantage, going ahead for good with two runs in the second and stretching the lead to 6-1 with a three-spot in the fourth.

Redshirt junior second baseman Kevin Kendall was the offensive star for the Bruins on Tuesday, going 3-3, reaching in all five of his plate appearances, and driving in four runs. Michael Curialle (2-5) and Kyle Cuellar (2-4) both added multi-hit days. With 11, the Bruins posted double-digit hits in their seventh consecutive game.

A pair of two-out rallies helped put the Bruins put up crooked numbers during the early innings, with the 8-9-1 hitters in the order doing most of the damage on both occasions.

Freshman center fielder JonJon Vaughns wore an 0-1 fastball to reach with two outs in the second, then showed off his wheels as he was able to score from first on a Mikey Perez two-bagger over the center fielder's head. Kendall then dropped a base hit into shallow left to plate Perez.

Two innings later, Vaughns and Perez bounced back from 0-2 counts to draw walks in back-to-back plate appearances, then scored after Kendall scorched a grounder inside the first-base bag and into the right-field corner for a two-run triple. Michael Curialle followed with a hot shot off the third baseman's glove and into left field for an RBI single.

While Nevada briefly made it a three-run game after a two-run homer from Dillan Shrum in the sixth, the Bruins put the game on ice with a five-spot in the next inning.

Junior catcher Noah Cardenas had the key hit of that rally, narrowly missing a grand slam and instead recording a two-run double off the top of the wall in left-center field. Control problems from Nevada led to three more runs during that inning, with runs coming in on a hit-by-pitch, walk, and wild pitch.

UCLA used seven separate pitchers in the contest, and the staff collectively allowed just three runs.

Freshman righty Jake Brooks drew the start and received the win after allowing one hit – a solo Joshua Zamora homer that opened the scoring – over two innings.

Standouts out of the 'pen included freshman righty Charles Harrison (one hit over two scoreless innings), Kyle Mora (faced the minimum in the fifth, in his first appearance since Apr. 3), and Adrian Chaidez (retired all four batters he faced).

UCLA returns to conference play this weekend with a three-game home series against Cal starting on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. The set marks UCLA's final home games of the 2021 campaign.