Nick Vander Tuig got roughed up as the Bruin pitching continued to let them down (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
A day after losing their spot atop the Pac-12, UCLA lost their streak of six consecutive series wins. Now they find themselves in a hole and facing their first bit of adversity since the beginning of the season after dropping game two of their three-game series with Oregon, 8-3. The loss was their second of the series and now, they are a game behind the both Oregon and Arizona in the conference, with their needing a win on Saturday just to avoid the sweep.
Nick Vander Tuig had another rough start as the UCLA pitching staff continued to get touched up. The right-hander did not make it out of the sixth inning and struck out just one, while allowed eight runs on 10 hits. The home run bit him again as he gave up one long ball, but it was his inability to close out at-bats that really hurt him as the Ducks picked up two-strike hits with regularity. David Berg worked 3.2 innings of one-hit, seven-strike out ball behind him to keep things from getting out of hand.
The Oregon pitching staff was fantastic for the second straight day, limiting the Bruins to six hits on the evening. The top of the order did the bulk of the damage, with Beau Amaral, Tyler Heineman and Cody Keefer combining for four hits and the rest of the Bruins picking up the other two.
Small ball netted the Ducks their first run. A leadoff single got them going in the first and a sacrifice bunt moved him to second so a single to right is all it took to give them a 1-0 lead before the Bruins even got a chance to bat.
When the Bruins did get their hands on the bats in the bottom of the inning, they answered. Amaral led off with a double and took third on a wild pitch. After a walk by Heineman, Keefer singled to tie the game up. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they couldn't do more with the inning despite having men on the corners with no out because Jeff Gelalich struck out and Trevor Brown hit into an inning-ending double play.
UCLA put someone in scoring position in the second and third, but couldn't cash them in, which really hurt them when Oregon got going in the middle inning. A pair of singles put men on the corners with one out in the fourth for the Ducks so a sacrifice fly score the go-ahead run. An inning later, four hits, a walk, an error and two balks helped the Ducks plate four and the visitors were up 6-1.
Oregon was not done, though. A one-out walk in the sixth brought up Connor Cofmann, who blasted a 2-1 pitch out to right, putting the Ducks up, 8-1, and bringing Vander Tuig's day to a close.
Down by seven, UCLA tried to mount a rally. Chris Keck singled home Gelalich in the sixth to make it 8-2. The Bruins put two more on base in the seventh, but while a double play did score a run to make it 8-3, it was the kind of rally-killing play that ended their hopes and sent them to their second consecutive defeat.