UCLA Baseball Drops Opener at Wazzu, 5-2, Seeks to Even Series Today
The Bruin bullpen allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, which was the difference in the game.
The UCLA baseball team (25-15, 12-10) squandered a 2-0 lead last night in Pullman as Washington State (23-17, 9-12) scored five unanswered runs to win, 5-2. The Bruin bullpen was particularly poor in the eighth inning when the Cougars broke a 2-2 deadlock with three runs on three walks, a wild pitch, and a single.
Today, the Bruins will seek to even the series while Wazzu seeks the series win. First pitch is at 2:05 pm PT and the game will be livestreamed.
Last Time Out
Last night, the Bruins struck first on a two-out, two-run home run by freshman JonJon Vaughns, who was making his first start in a UCLA uniform. Vaughns also plays defensive back for UCLA football.
Vaughns’ blast came in the top of the fifth inning and things looked pretty good for UCLA as starting pitcher Zach Pettway had only allowed three base runners up until that time, one on a single, one on a walk, and one on a strike out wild pitch with the batter reaching first.
After Pettway retied the side in order in the bottom of the fifth inning and UCLA wasted a lead-off walk in the top of the sixth, things began to go sideways for the Bruins. Pettway allowed a two-out single followed by a two-run home run and, just like that, it was tied, 2-2.
The game would remain tied going into the bottom of the eighth inning. Senior right hander Michael Townsend came on to pitch and, after a walk and a sacrifice bunt, Townsend struck out the next batter on three pitches for the second out. Usually I am not one to second guess UCLA Head Coach John Savage, and hindsight is 20/20, but Coach Savage called for an intentional walk of Kyle Manzardo with two outs and a runner on second.
Look, I get it. Manzardo is the Cougars’ best hitter, batting .386 with ten home runs and 51 RBI, all of which lead the team. Further, Manzardo hits from the left side and the next guy in the lineup was a right-handed hitter.
The move backfired.
The next hitter was the guy who hit the home run earlier in the game, Tristan Peterson. As a result, Townsend was perhaps a bit too careful with Peterson, who drew a walk after Townsend got ahead of him, on a 2-2 count, loading the bases with two outs.
That would be it for Townsend and on came Daniel Colwell for the Bruins to face Wazzu’s cleanup hitter, Collin Montez. Colwell’s first pitch was a wild one, allowing one run to score. Colwell then worked a full count to Montez, who singled home Cougar runners on second and third, resulting in the 5-2 final.
Three walks (one intentional), a wild pitch, and a single were the difference in this game.
The Cougars would get another meaningless single in the eighth inning, before the Bruins retired the side. UCLA would go quietly into the night in the ninth, with one runner reaching first on a throwing error, and the other three striking out.
Townsend took the loss for UCLA despite not allowing a hit, although he was responsible for three walks, including the intentional one. All five Cougar runs, and both of UCLA runs, were scored with two outs.
This afternoon, junior right hander Sean Mullen (8-1, 2.45 ERA), who has been UCLA’s best starter this season, will try to even things up for the Bruins. Washington State will counter with junior right hander Zane Mills (5-3, 3.51 ERA).
UCLA Baseball (25-15, 12-10)
Opponent: Washington State Cougars (23-17, 10-12)
Game Time: 2:05 pm PT, Saturday, May 8, 2021
Where: Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman, WA
Live TV/Audio: None
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
UCLA - Sean Mullen, RHP, Jr. (8-1, 2.45 ERA)
WSU - Zane Mills, RHP, Jr. (5-3, 3.51 ERA)
This is your UCLA baseball vs. Washington State game two open thread.