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Bruins Record Comeback Win at ASU, Clinch Series

May 28, 2021
Mikey Perez (L) hit a three-run homer in the eighth to plate the game-winning run on Friday (photo: Greg Turk)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The UCLA baseball team rallied for five runs in the eighth inning en route to an 8-5 comeback win at No. 21 Arizona State on Friday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The victory clinched the series for UCLA after a 21-9 triumph in Thursday's series opener.

Trailing by a run heading into the eighth, the Bruins (34-18, 17-12 Pac-12) immediately began to rally as leadoff man JT Schwartz reached on a first-pitch single against ASU lefty Graham Osman. A sudden loss of control for Osman – who subsequently walked a batter on four pitches before hitting Noah Cardenas on the foot with a breaking ball – allowed UCLA to load the bases with just one away.

From there, junior DH Jake Moberg came through with the go-ahead hit, rolling a grounder back up the middle to score a pair; the first scored easily from third and Cardenas came in from second after the ASU center fielder mishandled the ball.

Junior second baseman Mikey Perez then put a charge into an 0-1 offering from Osman, sending it the other way and over the fence for a three-run bomb that created plenty of separation for UCLA.

Perez's roundtripper – his team-leading 11th of the year – represented a solid stretch for the Inouye-Perez family, as it came within moments of the UCLA softball team (coached by Mikey's mother, Kelly Inouye-Perez) finishing off a Super Regional win over Virginia Tech.

UCLA's comeback effort was made possible by a dominant relief outing from senior right-hander Adrian Chaidez, who put a stopper in the ASU offense after the hosts plated single runs in each of the first four innings of the game.

Entering the game in the fifth, Chaidez faced the minimum over a career-high three innings, and was downright unhittable after allowing a single to the first batter he faced. After that knock, he got a routine fly ball to center, rolled up an inning-ending double play ball, proceeded to strike out five consecutive batters, and then finished his evening with another can-of-corn to center.

He was still the pitcher of record when UCLA pulled ahead, allowing him to record the win and improve his record to 3-0 on the year.

The Bruins had briefly taken the lead early in the game after putting a three-spot on the board in the third, parlaying doubles from Pat Caulfield, Matt McLain, and Michael Curialle into runs to make it 3-2.

ASU was led offensively by left fielder Hunter Jump, who was 2-5 with a pair of RBIs.

The Bruins and Sun Devils conclude the series on Saturday afternoon with a 1:00 p.m. matinee televised on the Pac-12 Networks.