No. 8 ECU drops series opener at No. 1 UCLA, 7-5

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LOS ANGELES (ECU) – Michael Toglia collected three hits and drove in five runs helping No. 1 UCLA to a 7-5 series opening win over No. 8 ECU Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. With the win the Bruins improve to 25-6 on the season, while the Pirates fall to 25-8.

With the game knotted at five-all in the eighth inning, Toglia registered his third hit of the game plating two runs giving UCLA a 7-5 lead. Jake Pries drew a two-out walk before he was lifted for pinch runner Jordan Prendiz at first. Jack Stronach followed with another walk and Toglia laced a 2-1 offering from Evan Voliva to left center pushing across both runs.

Nate Hadley (5-0) earned the win tossing two scoreless frames of relief with four strikeouts. Starter Zach Pettway had his shortest outing of the season after he was touched for four runs (all earned) on three hits while walking a career-high six and striking out one in 3.2 innings. Jack Filby gave up one run (earned) on two hits with a pair of punch outs in 2.1 innings and Holden Powell notched his ninth save of the season after working the ninth where he surrendered a hit, walked one and struck out one.

Voliva (4-2) took the loss surrendering the two runs in the eighth on one hit with two walks and a strikeout in one frame. Pirate starter Jake Agnos allowed four runs (all earned) on five hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts in his 5.2 innings. Sam Lanier gave up a run (earned) on one hit with a punch out in 1.1 innings.

UCLA drew first blood in the matchup between the two Top 10 teams on Matt McLain’s RBI triple for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Stronach doubled to right field with one out before scoring on McClain’s three-bagger to left-center.

ECU knotted the game at one-all in the third thanks to Alec Burleson’s sac fly. Bryant Packard started the frame with a single to right field then moved to second on Lane Hoover’s sac bunt and third on a Pettway wild pitch before scoring on Burleson’s fly ball to left field.

Noah Cardenas’ first home run of the season, a solo shot to left field, gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the third inning.

Brickhouse and Burleson’s consecutive two-RBI base hits pushed across four runs in the fourth giving ECU a 5-2 advantage. With two outs, Packard stood on first and Dusty Baker was at second. Hoover singled to left field loading the bases and chasing Pettway from the contest. Spencer Brickhouse greeted Filby in the fourth with a single through the right-side plating Baker and Packard. Burleson followed with a two-RBI double down the right field line clearing the bases giving the Pirates a three-run lead.

But the Bruins responded with three in the sixth tying the contest at five thanks to Toglia’s home run. Ryan Kreidler walked and Chase Strumpf singled to begin the inning. After a pair of strikeouts by Agnos, ECU went to the bullpen for Lanier and Toglia sent a 2-2 offering over the right field wall for the tie.

Burleson tallied three of ECU’s six hits in the game and drove in three runs. Brickhouse plated a pair with a hit, while Hoover and Packard added base knocks.

Toglia led UCLA’s offense with a three-hit and five-RBI night, while four other Bruins registered a hit.

The two clubs will close out the weekend series Saturday, April 13 with a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. (ET).