Mustangs stumble in UCLA series opener
February 22, 2014
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
UCLA hitters squared up Cal Poly ace Matt Imhof, Mustang right fielder Nick Torres made two errors on one play and Poly batters only mustered five hits in a 5-2 loss to the Bruins Friday night.
Imhof, who delivered a seven-inning, no-run, 14 strikeout performance in the season opener, gave up six hits and three earned runs over five innings of work Friday night in Los Angeles. The Mustang ace took the loss, the ball club’s first of the season after starting 4-0.
UCLA sophomore James Kaprielian over matched Imhof in the duel of expected aces. Kaprielian, whose fastball sat at 90-92 mph in early innings, did not overwhelm Cal Poly hitters in the fashion he did last year when he came in throwing 93-96 as a freshman reliever. Still Kaprielian struck out nine and scattered three hits over seven innings, while just allowing one run.
The run came on a seventh inning solo homerun by Cal Poly designated hitter Brian Mundell, his first homer of the season.
Torres, Cal Poly’s star position player, botched a play in right field for the second consecutive game against the Bruins. He followed a crucial miscue on a fly ball in last year’s regional by letting a third–inning single get by him and roll deep into right field. When Torres picked the ball up, he misfired on a relay throw into the infield, allowing the Bruin sophomore Ty Moore to come all the way around the bases and score on a single.
Moore had two hits, and UCLA freshman Luke Persico went 4-4 with two triples to lead an 11-hit performance by the defending national champion Bruins.
The series opener drew a large crowd of professional scouts but an overall attendance of less than 1,000. Some Bruin fans left early to watch women’s basketball.
UCLA, ranked 12th nationally, will host number 22 Cal Poly in an afternoon game Saturday. Poly will send freshman Slater Lee to the mound for his first collegiate road start. UCLA will start junior Grant Watson, who has considerable College World Series experience.