UCLA Brings Out the Bats in 15-3 Run-Rule Win Over Oklahoma
HOUSTON – The No. 23-ranked UCLA baseball team posted a pair of six-spots in the early innings en route to a 15-3 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday morning as part of the Shriner's Children's College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
With a run rule in effect for the entirety of the tournament, the game was called after six and a half innings.
Seven different players drove in a run for the Bruins (7-4), but sophomore center fielder Carson Yates was the clear standout on Saturday with six RBIs, including a grand slam in the first inning that ultimately produced the game-winning run.
Other standouts with the bat included freshman shortstop Cody Schrier (2-3, home run, two RBIs) and freshman second baseman Ethan Gourson (2-4, two RBIs).
UCLA produced a decisive six-run rally in its very first at-bats against the Sooners (5-4). The first three batters of that frame reached – Kenny Oyama led off with a single before OU starter David Sandlin issued back-to-back walks – to set up a bases loaded situation for Gourson, who bounced one through the right side to plate a pair.
The Bruins weren't done after that two-run knock though, as Michael Curialle worked a walk to re-load the bases for Yates. He didn't wait long to put his stamp on the game, smashing the first pitch he saw to left field for a grand slam. The blast came on the heels of his first career home run, which he hit on Friday in a pinch-hit plate appearance in the ninth inning.
UCLA pushed the game into blowout territory with another six-spot in the third inning. Similar to the first inning, the first three batters of that frame reached to set the table for the rally, with Daylen Reyes and Ethan Gourson opening up the inning with back-to-back doubles. A JonJon Vaughns sac fly brought in the first run of the rally, but the Bruins continued to rally as four of the next five batters collected hits. In the end UCLA received RBI doubles from Yates, Oyama, and Schrier to go along with a run-scoring single off the bat of Tommy Beres.
After Oklahoma reduced the lead the single digits with three runs in the fourth, UCLA responded with another crooked number in the sixth to push the game back into a run-rule situation. Schrier led that inning off with a well-struck homer to left, and Vaughns later added an RBI double down the right field line.
On the pitching side, the freshman duo of Ethan Flanagan and Thatcher Hurd limited the Sooners to no runs and two hits over the final 3 2/3 innings of the game.
Flanagan earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief, and Hurd followed him up by going five-up, five-down with three strikeouts.
UCLA starter Max Rajcic got a no-decision after allowing three earned over 3 1/3 innings. He allowed just a single his first time through the order, and went on to strike out the side in the third inning.
Sandlin was tagged with the loss for Oklahoma, giving up five earned and only recording one out. The Sooners wound up using seven pitchers on the day.
The Bruins conclude their time at the Shriner's Children's College Classic on Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. PT matchup against top-ranked Texas. The game will be televised live on MLB Network and can be streamed on Astros.com, the MLB app, and the Astros' social channels.