Surging Toglia Powers UCLA To Another Marquee WinAt The Ballpark
LOS ANGELES — Michael Toglia began to walk to the batter’s box when he saw East Carolina head coach Cliff Godwin heading to the mound to make a pitching change.
Godwin was taking southpaw ace Jake Agnos out and bringing in righthander Sam Lanier in an attempt to turn around UCLA’s switch-hitting first baseman. Agnos had struck out the previous two batters as he tried to escape a jam with two runners in scoring position. Godwin wanted Toglia to bat from the left side as the Pirates tried to hold a 5-2 lead.
“Look at his numbers. It’s pretty simple,” Godwin said after Toglia led No. 1 UCLA to a 7-5 victory. “We have a lot more information than any media does or any fans do in front of us and we had the information and we made a call. That’s what we do as coaches. We’ve got to make decisions.”
Toglia entered Friday night’s top 10 matchup at Jackie Robinson Stadium hitting .244 with eight extra-base hits and 18 RBIs in 82 lefthanded at-bats. From the right side, he was 13 for 36, hitting .361 with nine extra-base hits and 11 RBIs.
But that data is heavily skewed by Toglia starting the season slow. He was hitting just .163 through 11 games, including a woeful 3 for 31 (.097) with 13 strikeouts from the left side of the plate.
“I’m no stranger to starting slow. It’s happened to me before, so I knew not to panic about it,” said Toglia, who was hitting .146 through 15 games his freshman year.
So Toglia went to work.