The 12th-ranked UCLA Baseball team opened the 2014 season on Friday night, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Portland Pilots at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Sophomore James Kaprielian, making his first collegiate start, took the loss for the Bruins, tossing five innings and striking out seven while allowing only one run. Jackson Lockwood earned the win for the Pilots, pitching two innings in relief, while Colin Feldtman picked up the save with 1.2 innings in relief. Travis Radke started the game for Portland, pitching 4.2 innings and striking out seven.
Kaprielian got into a jam in the top of the first, giving up singles to two of the first three batters to start the game. After a balk moved the runners up to second and third, Kaprielian got a huge strikeout of Kevin Wade to get the second out. However, Kaprielian walked the next batter and hit Caleb Whalen with the bases loaded to bring in a run, giving the Pilots a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first.
He got into a jam in the top of the third as well, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Kaprielian was able to get a ground out, a foul out and a strikeout from the next three hitters though to end the threat.
UCLA didn’t get much going offensively until the bottom of the fifth, starting when junior Chris Keck got hit by a pitch with two outs. The Bruins then executed a perfect hit and run with Trent Chatterton at the plate, moving Keck over to third and putting Chatterton at first. Sophomore Christoph Bono walked on four pitches in the next at-bat, loading the bases for senior Brian Carroll. Radke was then relieved by Lockwood, and Lockwood was able to strike out Carroll to end the inning.
The Bruins threatened again in the bottom of the seventh when freshman Brett Stephens recorded his first collegiate hit with a double to left-center. He advanced to third on a wild pitch with nobody out, but the Bruins could not get him across the plate and they went into the eighth still down a run.
In the eighth, UCLA again loaded the bases with one out, bringing up freshman Luke Persico. Persico grounded out to first though and sophomore Ty Moore was gunned down at home before Stephens struck out swinging to end the inning. The Bruins went quietly in the ninth and Portland took the win by a score of 1-0.
Overall, junior Shane Zeile led the Bruins at the plate, going 2-3 with a double. Stephens and Chatterton logged hits for UCLA as well.
The Bruins (0-1) will play the Pilots (1-0) again tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Junior Grant Watson will take the hill for UCLA while Kody Watts is slated to pitch for Portland.
Game Notes: This was UCLA’s first loss in its last 11 games dating back to last year…UCLA’s bullpen of Nick Kern, Max Schuh, Jake Ehret and Scott Burke combined to pitch four scoreless innings tonight, striking out eight batters and allowing only one hit…James Kaprielian set a new career-high with seven strikeouts in the ballgame…six UCLA ballplayers made their collegiate debut in the game (Persico, Stephens, Dominic Miroglio, Kort Peterson, Kern and Burke)…UCLA dropped to 6-4 all-time in season openers under head coach John Savage…UCLA’s 15 strikeouts on the mound were the most they have recorded against an opponent since April 30, 2011 when the Bruins struck out 15 Oregon State batters.