LOS ANGELES — Arizona State forced UCLA starter James Kaprielian to throw 41 pitches in the first inning, scoring two runs on an error after loading the bases with no outs. But head coach Tim Esmay thought the Sun Devils (13-11, 3-4) could have easily put together a five- or six-run inning in the situation.
In the next frame, Arizona State added a run on a solo homer by Colby Woodmansee that appeared to get an extra boost over the left field wall when it bounced out of the glove of a leaping Ty Moore. But that would be the extent of the Sun Devils’ offense as Kaprielian settled in and got stronger as the game progressed, leading UCLA to a 7-3 victory Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Arizona State head coach Tim Esmay talks about the Sun Devils not fully capitalizing on early opportunities when they had Kaprielian on the ropes. He also discusses starter Brett Lilek’s short outing and bouncing back the rest of the weekend:
The UCLA ace struck out a career-high 12, including the first seven outs. And it’s a good thing he did as the Bruins’ defense was shaky, committing a pair of errors. At one point, heading into the fifth inning, the defense had committed as many errors (2) as it had recorded outs (2).
The UCLA offense jumped on ASU starter Brett Lilek, struggled throughout his short outing. He only made it through three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits, three walks and two hit by pitches. Like Kaprielian’s early innings, Lilek threw a lot of pitches, ending his night after 79 pitches.
The Bruins scored in four of the first five innings, taking advantage of free leadoff baserunners each time. Brian Carroll walked, stole second base and scored on a Shane Zeile single to centerfield in the first inning. UCLA tied the game, 3-3, in the second inning after Luke Persico walked and Kevin Williams was hit by a pitch to start the frame.
Persico scored on a Trent Chatterton groundout while Williams eventually was involved in a collision at the plate when Chris Keck grounded to first. Nathaniel Causey’s throw home pulled catcher Brian Serven up the third-base line into Williams’ direct path.
Williams said he intended to slide on the play, but when Serven came up the line Williams was already on top of him, giving neither player time to avoid the impact. Serven (and Lilek) initially took exception to the play, which Serven displayed by purposefully walking over Williams and dragging his leg on top of him. But Williams said he talked to Serven later in the game and cleared things up.
Here’s Williams talking about the event. He also discusses being back in the lineup and how there isn’t “a guy” because the Bruins buy into the full team concept:
In the third inning, Ty Moore got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and came around to score on a Pat Gallagher sac fly after Williams singled him to third.
UCLA’s offense kept rolling, adding a run in the fifth inning, which again started with Moore getting hit by a pitch. This time Williams, who finished 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI, singled home Moore to make it 5-3.
The Bruins also added two runs in the seventh inning while the Sun Devils’ offense managed only three hits after the second inning. Kaprielian finished with 119 after six innings, allowing six hits and three runs (two earned) while recording the career-high 12 strikeouts.
Listen to what Kaprielian had to say about his performance after the game:
In total, Arizona State struck out 16 times. Lefty reliever Max Schuh pitched a brilliant seventh inning, striking out the side on 13 pitches. Nick Kern and David Berg finished the game off allowing only one base runner in the final two frames.
Chatterton had two RBI while Christoph Bono and Zeile each had two hits and an RBI. Dalton Dinatale was the only Arizona State player to record multiple hits.
Hear what UCLA head coach John Savage had to say about Kaprielian, Williams and Schuh after the game:
The two teams return to the diamond Saturday at Jackie Robinson Stadium at 2 p.m. PT to continue the series.
Take a look at CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling’s top photos from the game: