One of the Bruins’ top arms will not be able to pitch this spring following a season-ending surgery.
UCLA baseball welcomed one of the top recruiting classes in the nation in 2021, and left-hander Gage Jump was one of the headlining pitchers among the group of freshmen. After his first year with the program was bookended by injuries, Jump will be forced to sit out the entire 2023 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery over the summer, a source confirmed to All Bruins.
Los Angeles Times columnist Eric Sondheimer was the first to report on Gage’s surgery Thursday.
Jump forwent the 2021 MLB Draft in favor of coming to Westwood, despite being pegged as MLB.com’s No. 41 overall draft prospect. Perfect Game had Jump ranked as the No. 45 players overall and No. 7 lefties in the nation. Within California, he was ranked No. 4 overall and No. 1 among southpaws in the class coming out of JSerra Catholic High School (CA).
During his debut season in blue and gold, Jump started in the Bruins’ bullpen and moved into the starting rotation during early Pac-12 action. The Aliso, California, native became a high-leverage option for coach John Savage until he was shut down for the year in late April.
In seven appearances and three starts during the 2021 campaign, Jump tallied a 1-1 record, 3.86 ERA, .172 batting average against and 22 strikeouts across 16.1 innings. The 6-foot southpaw set career-highs during an April 16 outing against Stanford, tossing 5.0 innings and allowing two earned runs while striking out seven batters.
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Thatcher Hurd was another notable freshman arm who was shut down due to injury in 2022, but the highly-touted right-hander moved on from UCLA following the end of the season. With Hurd transferring to LSU and jumping out for 2023, playing time has opened up for the other young arms on the roster.
Sophomore righties Alonzo Tredwell and Luke Jewett featured as relief pitchers in their first seasons in Westwood. Now, weekend and weekday starts could become more likely for the duo.
Junior Jake Brooks, redshirt junior Kelly Austin and sophomore Ethan Flanagan all have experience starting games for the Bruins. The latter two shifted in and out of the bullpen throughout the season, but mostly worked as starters towards the back half of the slate due to Jump and Hurd’s injuries.
All five returning pitchers could get a shot to start in 2022, but Savage and his staff will likely give the Bruins’ incoming recruiting class a chance to shine as well.
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PHOTO COURTESY OF ROSS TURTELTAUB/UCLA ATHLETICS