No. 8 ECU Baseball drops doubleheader at No. 1 UCLA

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LOS ANGELES (ECU) – Top-ranked UCLA completed a series sweep of No. 8 ECU Saturday taking both games of the doubleheader 8-5 and 3-0 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. With the win the Bruins improve to 27-6 on the season, while the Pirates fall to 25-10.

Matt McLain scored the game’s first run for a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a Jake Kuchmaner wild pitch and never looked back. McLain singled to right to start the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and third on Will McInerny’s sac bunt for darting home on Kuchmaner’s second wild throw of the frame.

Ryan Garcia (4-0) earned the win striking out a career-high 13 batters in the night cap where he scattered three hits over seven frames with a pair of walks. Holden Powell notched his second save of the series (10th of the season) tossing a scoreless ninth where he allowed one hit. Bridging the gap to Holden was Kyle Mora, who had a clean eighth inning retiring all three Pirates he faced.

Kuchmaner (3-1) suffered the loss giving up two runs (both earned) on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Trey Benton allowed one run (earned) on two hits with a walk and a pair of punch outs in 2.1 innings, while Evan Voliva worked one-third of a frame.

Chase Strumpf added to UCLA’s lead in the sixth belting a solo shot to left field for a 2-0 advantage. The Bruins would cap the scoring in the ninth on Jake Pries’ infield single to first that plated McClain from second base. Spencer Brickhouse corralled the ball just right of the bag and threw home to Seth Caddell, who looked to have put the tag on McClain but he was called safe for a 3-0 final.

Alec Burleson and Bryant Packard each tallied two hits accounting for all four of the Pirates base knocks. McLain led five Bruins in hits going 2-for-3 in the night cap.

Game 1 Recap

Michael Toglia hit his second home run of the series in the first game of the doubleheader belting a three-run shot off of Burleson in the ninth for an 8-5 walk-off win to secure a series win. Ryan Kreidler was hit by a Burleson pitch to start the frame and moved to second on Jack Stronach’s walk before both runners came around on Toglia’s seventh jack of the season.

Mora (3-2) picked up the win in relief working two scoreless frames with three strikeouts. Starter Jack Ralston was touched for four runs (all earned) on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts over five innings. Michael Townsend (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 Ks) and Nate Hadley (1.0 IP, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K) also threw out of the Bruins bullpen.

Burleson (2-1) suffered the loss allowing three runs (all earned) on one hit with one walk in relief. Starter Tyler Smith surrendered three runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Gavin Williams gave up two runs (both earned) on three hits with two punch outs in 2.2 innings, while Zach Barnes worked two clean frames in relief.

UCLA took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning thanks to base hits by Jarron Silvia and Noah Cardenas. Toglia walked with one out and scored on Silvia’s RBI double hit down the right field line.

Four hits in the third inning for the Pirates staked them to a 3-2 lead in the third inning. With two outs and Packard standing on first, Brickhouse singled putting runners on the corners for Burleson, who doubled down the right field line plating Packard. Turner Brown followed with a two-run single back up the middle clearing the bases for ECU’s first lead of the contest.

Both teams exchanged runs in the fourth making it a 4-3 ball game before UCLA scored two runs on Garrett Mitchell’s two-run shot to right field for a Bruin one-run advantage, 5-4.

ECU knotted the game at five all in the seventh on Brown’s RBI double to left center that scored Brickhouse from first base, who walked with one out.

Brown led the Pirates offense going 2-for-3 with three RBI, while six other tallied a hit. Brickhouse reached base three times (single, two walks) and scored a pair of runs. Burleson drove in a run and scored once for ECU.

Cardenas and Kreidler each tallied a pair of hits, while Togila (three) and Mitchell (two) had multiple RBI. In all, six Bruins registered hits in the contest.

ECU will close out its eight-game road trip on Tuesday, April 16 at Elon with a 6 p.m. (ET) scheduled first pitch.