Garcia leads top-seeded UCLA to 5-2 victory over Omaha

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan Garcia went 8 1/3 innings to lead national top seed UCLA to a 5-2 victory over Omaha on Friday night in a first-round game at the NCAA Tournament’s Los Angeles Regional.

The junior right-hander — who earned Pac-12 pitcher of the year honors — allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out six on 112 pitches (77 strikes).

Breydon Eckhout homered to left field to lead off the fourth inning to give Omaha a 1-0 lead before UCLA answered an inning later. The Bruins took the lead with a three-run fifth. Garrett Mitchell had the key hit in the inning with a single that drove in a pair of runs.

Jack Stronach and Noah Cardenas each had two hits for UCLA. Brett Bonar had two hits and drove in a run for the Mavericks.

Mavericks’ starter Payton Kinney, who allowed only one hit the first four innings, gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings with eight strikeouts.

The Bruins (48-8) face region third seed Loyola Marymount (33-23) in the winner’s bracket on Saturday night.

Omaha (31-23-1) faces Baylor (34-18) in an elimination game Saturday.