SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Moments after Cal Poly had taken the lead with two runs in the seventh inning, Nos. 4/9 UCLA rallied for five in the eighth to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 9-5 victory in the opener of a three-game non-conference baseball series Friday night inside Baggett Stadium.
Michael Toglia tied the game at 5-5 with an RBI single, then scored on a wild pitch to snap the deadlock. Daniel Amaral followed with a run-scoring single, Daniel Rosica's safety squeeze bunt made it 8-5 and Jeremy Ydens tripled to push across the final tally of the inning.
Kyle Mora (5-1) retired all four batters he faced for the win and Holden Powell tossed a scoreless ninth to seal the verdict for UCLA, now 27-10 for the year. Cal Poly fell to 19-21.
The loss spoiled a strong pitching performance by Cal Poly senior southpaw Trent Shelton as he allowed four runs and five hits over seven innings with four walks and six strikeouts.
He left the game in line for the win after Cal Poly scored twice in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-4 lead. Kyle Marinconz tripled to left-center field and came home on a wild pitch to tie the game at 4-4 and Tate Samuelson (pictured above) singled through the right side of the UCLA infield with two outs for his team-leading 29th RBI and a 5-4 Mustang lead.
Andrew Alvarez (2-1) allowed the first three Bruin batters in the top of the eighth to reach base and all three scored as he suffered the loss.
Mustang junior catcher Nick Meyer had a 3-for-4 night at the plate with one RBI – a single up the middle in the fourth inning -- and Samuelson singled twice with one RBI. Second baseman Scott Ogrin singled through the right side of the UCLA infield for two RBI in the sixth inning, trimming UCLA's 4-1 lead to one.
UCLA's 10 hits included a triple and single by Ydens, two doubles and a pair of RBI by Jack Stronach, a single and double by Toglia and two singles by Chase Strumpf.
UCLA starter Jake Bird, 5-2 with a 1.61 ERA entering the game, gave up five runs (three earned) and nine hits over 6 2/3 innings in the no-decision. He walked two and struck out four.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 with Darren Nelson (4-3, 4.93 ERA) of Cal Poly to face Zach Pettway (6-1, 2.83 ERA) of UCLA in a matchup of freshman right-handers.
The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 o'clock.
Photos courtesy of Michael Glasgow