LOS ANGELES — UCLA chased Arizona State's starting pitcher Eli Lingos out of the contest before recording a single out en route to a 13-2 win on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Despite entering the matchup averaging 4.96 runs per contest, the Bruins (25-27, 12-14 in Pac-12) tallied seven runs in the first inning alone on seven hits—including two multi-run homers—as the first six UCLA batters of the game reached base safely.
Overall, UCLA batters combined for 13 runs on 16 total hits, while ASU (32-19, 14-12) managed two runs on six hits. In fact, six of the Bruins' nine starters who stepped up to the plate recorded at least one RBI on Saturday night.
The 11-run drumming the Sun Devils suffered was a 180-degree turn from their series-opening victory on Friday.
"It was more our inability to get it done on the mound," ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. "I think it was kind of blown open there early. It's a loss. That's the way I'm looking at it and that's about it. Regroup and be ready for tomorrow."
On his first pitch of the game, Lingos (3-4) conceded a single to Bruins second baseman Brian Urabe, and designated hitter Eric Filia followed with a single of his own. Then, Bruins third baseman Luke Persico smashed a three-run bomb into left field, giving UCLA a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Lingos proceeded to walk right fielder Kort Peterson before first baseman Zander Clarke crushed a two-run shot to left field; five batters, five runs. Smith ensued the homer with a meeting on the mound and a subsequent pitching change, completing the Bruins' five-run chase of the Sun Devils' starter.
Smith said Lingos struggled with elevating his pitches, which he said were flat. Still, he's very confident in the southpaw, who has proven to be a consistent starter throughout the campaign.
"Your pitcher's gonna have those; you're not gonna be on every single time," Smith said of Lingos' performance. "It was unfortunate that it happened tonight, but he's pitched some big games for us so we're gonna need him down the stretch and you just gotta let this one go."
Right-hander James Ryan was thrust into the game for Lingos, but he conceded two more runs when Bruins left fielder Brett Stephens drilled a one-out RBI-double and Urabe connected on a two-out RBI-triple, giving UCLA a 7-0 advantage by the end of the first.
Sophomore righty Grant Schneider assumed the mound for Ryan to begin the second. He lasted the longest of any of the Sun Devils pitchers, going 3 innings while surrendering three earned runs on four hits before giving way to freshman right-hander Fitz Stadler in the fifth.
Stadler allowed two runs in an inning before freshman left-hander Garvin Alston came in to begin the sixth frame. He lasted two innings, walked one batter, and struck out three without giving up any runs—the lone Sun Devil pitcher to do so.
Smith said Alston's performance was one of the lone encouraging marks of the night.
"Guys that haven't had a lot of action, it's good to see," he said. "You don't want games like this, but it's a chance for guys to come in and get a little time."
Sidearmer Eric Melbostad took the baton from Alston going into the final frame, giving up one run in his sole inning of work.
Although the ASU bullpen struggled, the offense was quiet for most of the evening, too.
In the seventh inning, left fielder Ryan Lillard provided the Sun Devils' lone scoring instance of the matchup when he drove a Grant Dyer (CG, W, 5 H, 2 ER, 9 K) pitch out of the park for a two-run home run, his first of the season.
Aside from that, not much else went right for the Sun Devils as ASU batters combined to bat .181 as a unit. In lieu of the result, Smith says his team will regroup before the series finale and look to claim the tie.
"We feel like we're in good shape with pitching tomorrow," Smith said. "We came here to win a series and we still have a chance to do that, so I think tomorrow will be a good opportunity for us. We have a couple good arms going and we still control whether we win that series or not."
Tomorrow, the Sun Devils will take on the Bruins in the final contest of their three-game series with the first pitch scheduled to be thrown at 3 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Right-hander Jordan Aboites is expected to take the mound for ASU.