Gerrit Cole was strong, but the offense was nowhere to be found (Photo Credit: Official Site)
UCLA has had issues on Friday nights of late, but this one played out differently than it has recently. Gerrit Cole had been struggling in recent weeks and it's put the Bruins in a bit of trouble. Playing from behind is not UCLA's forte considering their inconsistent offense, and having to do so against other teams' aces only makes it tougher. On this Friday night, Cole got behind, but not by much. He pitched well, but the offense was nowhere be found and the Bruins fell to Cal, 4-0. The loss leaves them at 29-20 on the year and 14-8 in the Pac-10, three games behind conference leading Oregon St.
Tough starts to games have been Cole's problem and he had a little bit of that problem against the Golden Bears, giving up a run in the first, but he was dominant from then on. By the time he exited the game after seven innings he had given up only six hits, struck out six and only one run had come across. Zack Weiss gave up one run in a third of an inning of relief, Mitchell Beacom gave up two in two-thirds of an inning and Brandon Lodge threw a scoreless ninth.
As has been the case too often this season, the UCLA offense was nowhere to be found. Beau Amaral, Cody Keefer and Pat Valaika each picked up a hit in the ballgame, but those three hits were the only ones for the Bruins all game. Dean Espy walked twice and the Bruins drew four walks as a team, but they also struck out 10 times and struggled to mount rallies all game.
Five pitches into the game, Cal had a man on base thanks to a lead off walk. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second then a single back up the middle plated the runner to give Cal a 1-0 lead.
A two-out hit by pitch by Jeff Gelalich in the third gave the Bruins a chance. He proceded to steal second to put a man in scoring position, but a ground out ended the frame.
The Golden Bears almost added to their lead in the fourth. Consecutive one-out singles put two on then a passed ball moved them both into scoring positon. The next batter grounded to third and Cody Regis got the runner caught between third and home for the out to keep UCLA down just 1-0.
In both the fifth and seventh innings the Bruins put runners in scoring position. The runners stayed in scoring position though as UCLA couldn't bring them in.
Cole came out of the game after seven innings and was replaced by Weiss. Weiss didn't last long though, surrendering a single then a sacrifice bunt before head coach John Savage turned to Beacom. The left-hander got a strikeout against the first man he faced, but then consecutive walks loaded up the bases. A double followed, scoring all three runners and putting the Bruins behind 4-0.
The eighth and ninth innings both began with Bruins reaching base, but once again they were left on base. The Golden Bears finished off the Bruins and now UCLA will have to grab the final two games of the weekend if they're to grab the series.