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Rajcic, Offense Excel as UCLA Wins Opener Over ASU

Apr 29, 2022
Max Rajcic (photo: Jenny Xu)

LOS ANGELES – Sophomore right-hander Max Rajcic took a one-hitter into the ninth inning and all nine starters collected at least one hit as No. 13 UCLA recorded a 19-2 victory over Arizona State in Friday night's series-opener at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Bruins (28-13, 12-7 Pac-12) held a solid 6-0 lead after five innings, but turned it into a rout with a 13-run sixth inning. It was the most single-inning runs by a UCLA team since scoring a program-record 14 against Pacific on Mar. 25, 2007.

Practically every UCLA starter had a productive day on offense, with particular standout efforts coming from junior catcher Darius Perry (3-5, team-high four RBIs), graduate first baseman Jake Palmer (3-4, three runs), and junior right fielder Michael Curialle (3-5, two RBIs, three runs).

UCLA had six extra-base hits as a team, including a two-run homer from Ethan Gourson in the fifth.

The Bruins went through the entire lineup twice as part of that big sixth inning. Perry did the most damage of any single Bruin in that rally, ripping a two-run double down the left field line in both of his plate appearances to account for all four of his RBIs.

Run-scoring singles also came from sophomore third baseman Kyle Karros, Curialle, and sophomore DH Daylen Reyes. UCLA totaled seven hits as a team during the inning, which was helped along by six walks and three errors from ASU (20-23, 9-10).

The Bruins' offensive production turned out to be multitudes more than was necessary for Rajcic, who turned in the finest start of his Bruin career.

The Fullerton, Calif. native faced the minimum through seven innings, allowed just one hit through eight frames, and finished the contest with new career-bests in innings (8 1/3) and strikeouts (11).

Rajcic filled the zone all night, reaching a three-ball count on just three occasions. He went nine-up, nine-down to start the game, then executed on a pitchout in the fourth inning to nail ASU's Sean McLain after his single had broken up the no-no.

Arguably his finest work came in the top of the seventh. After sitting in the dugout for about 45 minutes while UCLA put together its 13-run inning, Rajcic came back out and struck out the side swinging.

ASU would go on to break up the one-hitter and the shutout in the ninth inning. Both of the visitors' runs, which were charged to Rajcic, came after the UCLA starter had already left the game.

UCLA and ASU resume the series on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.