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Bruin Bats Erupt in 21-9 Win at Arizona State

May 27, 2021
Matt McLain (photo: Greg Turk)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The UCLA baseball team erupted offensively to the tune of a 21-9 win in Thursday night's series opener at No. 21 Arizona State, the most runs scored by the Bruins in a single game since the 2008 season.

The Bruins (33-18, 16-12 Pac-12) scored 11 unanswered runs to open the game, and ultimately led by as many as 17. UCLA scored in seven of its nine offensive innings, and posted five separate crooked numbers. The 21 runs were the most for the program since a 22-2 triumph at CSUN on Feb. 26, 2008.

Nine different players scored multiple runs for the Bruins on Thursday, and 12 logged at least one hit. Key performers for the Bruins included redshirt sophomore first baseman JT Schwartz (3-5, three runs, two doubles, two RBIs), junior shortstop Matt McLain (2-4, three runs), senior DH Kyle Cuellar (2-5, three RBIs), and junior second baseman Mikey Perez (1-4, three RBIs).

On the mound, senior right-hander Zach Pettway delivered five solid innings to log the win. The Long Beach native allowed just one earned run during his outing, striking out four.

UCLA recorded multi-run rallies in three of the team's first four turns at bat to take control of the game early.

Cuellar had the big knock of a four-run first, launching a 1-1 offering over the fence in right-center field for a three-run home run. It was his third home run in the last six games.

The Bruins loaded the bases with just one away in the third inning, which chased ASU (32-18, 16-12) starter Tyler Thornton from the game. The pitching change didn't stem the rally however, as UCLA would go on to cash in all three of those runners; the first two came in on an errant throw home on a chopper to third, and the last run came in on a pitch that got to the backstop.

Freshman third baseman Kyle Karros and Perez teamed up to push the lead to double digits in the fourth. Karros started it off by scorching a grounder inside the third-base line for a two-run double. Perez followed by crushing a hanging slider way over the wall in left field for a two-run bomb, making it 11-0 and scoring what turned out to be the game-winning run.  

The Bruins would go on to score in the next four innings as well, a streak of six innings that brought the score to 21-4. Key hits in the latter innings included two-run doubles from junior catcher Noah Cardenas and freshman center fielder JonJon Vaughns, both which went into the left-center field gap.

UCLA and Arizona State continue the series on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. in a Pac-12 Networks-televised showdown.