UCLA Evens USC Series With 11-2 Saturday Win
LOS ANGELES – The No. 15-ranked UCLA baseball team evened its series with crosstown rival USC by way of an 11-2 victory on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
UCLA (10-5, 1-1 Pac-12) posted a crooked number in three consecutive innings starting in the fourth to take control of the game, ultimately reaching double-digit runs for the third time this season. The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Trojans (10-3, 1-1).
Junior third baseman Michael Curialle was the offensive standout for the Bruins, going 3-4 to lead all players in both hits and RBIs (three). Freshman shortstop Cody Schrier (2-5, two RBIs) and Ethan Gourson (1-3, two RBIs) also had strong days with the bat.
Sophomore righty Max Rajcic led the way for UCLA on the mound, giving up no runs over a five-inning start. Collectively, the Bruins allowed zero earned runs on Saturday.
UCLA opened the game's scoring with a three-spot in the fourth. Curialle had the big of that rally, ripping a one-hop liner off the glove of the diving USC third baseman for an RBI double. Later in the inning, the Bruins scored a pair when the USC first baseman tried to get an out at home but had his throw get away from the catcher for an error.
Curialle came through again in the very next inning, golfing a low fastball into left field for a bases-loaded single that brought in a pair. Two other runs scored in that inning on wild pitches as the Bruins went ahead 7-0.
The Bruins made the Trojans pay for back-to-back walks to open the seventh, as both runners would come across on an Ethan Gourson flare single into shallow left field.
Schrier gave the Bruins some insurance with a monster home run in the eighth, a two-run blast over the palm trees beyond the left field wall.
Rajcic was excellent on the mound for UCLA, pitching into the sixth inning for the first time in his career and picking up the win to improve to 2-1.
He ended up allowing just two runs – both unearned – on five hits while striking out five. He ended each of his first four frames with a K. The Fullerton native had to pitch out of danger on a couple occasions, escaping a bases-loaded jam unscathed in the second, and working out of a two-on situation in the fifth. He went 1-2-3 in both the first and fourth.
Freshman left-hander Ethan Flanagan did the heavy lifting among the three relief pitchers used by UCLA, allowing just two singles and striking out three over 2 2/3 innings. Junior southpaw Jake Saum closed it out with a hit-free ninth inning.
USC was led by leadoff man Rhylan Thomas (2-5, RBI) and Adrian Colon-Rosado (2-3), who each had multi-hit performances. The Trojans employed four pitchers over the course of the game, with each yielding multiple runs. Tyler Stromsborg (4 IP, 3 ER) was tagged with the loss for the visitors.
The Bruins and Trojans will decide the series on Sunday starting at 3:00 p.m. PT. The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.