UCLA Baseball Beats North Carolina But Loses to Texas Tech to End Season
After an up and down regular season, the Bruins weren't able to advance past the NCAA Regionals.
The UCLA baseball team needed to win two games yesterday to remain alive in the NCAA Lubbock Regional. The Bruins were able to cruise past the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first game by the score of 12-2. In the game against Texas Tech, UCLA couldn’t generate as much offense and they lost to the Red Raiders, 8-2.
Against Carolina, the Bruins generated all the offense they would need in the first inning before the Tar Heels even had a chance to bat. In that inning, UCLA sent eleven batters to the plate and scored five runs. Kevin Kendall led off and singled to right on the first pitch from Connor Olio. Jarron Silva hit an 0-1 pitch to second and the Tar Heels forced Kendall out at second, but Silva avoided the double play. That brought Matt McLain to the dish and he drew a walk. JT Schwartz followed with an RBI single which scored Silva. It was the first of three consecutive RBI singles with Kyle Cuellar driving McLain in and Jake Moberg scoring Schwartz. After a botched pickoff attempt, Cuellar advanced to third and Moberg moved up to second. That set the stage for a two-run single from Noah Cardenas who brought Cuellar and Moberg in to give the Bruins a 5-0 lead.
That would be all for Olio and the Tar Heels brought Nik Pry in from the bullpen. Pry was able to get the final two outs of the inning without allowing another run to score.
UCLA added another run in the third on a solo homer from Jon Jon Vaughns to increase the lead to 6-0. Then, in the fourth, UCLA used small ball again to tack on four insurance runs to stretch the lead to 10-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Carolina was able to get a pair of runs across to cut the Bruins’ lead to 10-2.
UCLA got those runs back in the seventh on a two-run double by McLain. The Bruins now led 12-2 and that’s how this one ended.
Bruin starter Zach Pettway went this distance in this one in what was probably his best game of the season. He allowed just the two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out nine.
That win meant the Bruins would play again, this time against Texas Tech who had advanced through the Lubbock Regional without losing a game prior to yesterday’s matchup. Unfortunately, that remained as well after the Bruins played the Red Raiders.
UCLA got on the board first in the bottom of the first. Kevin Kendall doubled to lead off the game and Pat Caulfield bunted him over to third. Kendall scored when McLain hit a sacrifice fly to center and, just like that, the Bruins were up, 1-0.
Texas Tech matched UCLA’s breadstick with one of their own in the top of the second off Bruin starter Kyle Mora. The Red Raiders got a runner on with a walk. A grounder to short moved the runner to second and an RBI single tied the game.
The third inning saw Texas Tech take the lead for good when a walk, a single and a double added a pair of runs. It was enough to send John Savage to the pen for Adrian Chaidez. Chaidez gave up an RBI single that scored the runner from second, which was charged to Mora, and the Bruins trailed 4-1 midway through the third.
In the bottom half of the inning, Vaughns led off with a single to center. With one out, Caulfield was hit by a pitch. UCLA pulled off a double steal and Vaughns scampered home when on a bad throw to third by Red Raider catcher Braxton Fulford. That cut the Texas Tech lead to two, 4-2.
But it was the final run of the game for the Bruins who were held scoreless in the final six innings.
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders added three insurance runs in the fifth and one more in the eighth to win the game, 8-2.
Frankly, it isn’t a suprising result as this year’s team just hasn’t seemed to have the sense of domination that some Bruin teams have had in recent years.
Hopefully, Coach Savage is able to use this as a building year for the years to come.