UCLA drops series finale to Oregon, 5-3

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

UCLA couldn't complete the sweep of Oregon, but still left Eugene with a key series road win.

After a pair of 1-0 wins earned UCLA a series win, but they had one game left in Eugene and if they could win it, they wouldn't just complete a huge road series sweep, they would also move within one game of first place in the Pac-12. Unfortunately for the Bruins, though, it was not to be. They squandered a 3-1 lead when they let the Ducks strike for four in the fifth as Oregon salvaged their weekend by downing UCLA, 5-3.

The first two innings were a breeze for both teams, but Shane Zeile finally got the action going with a leadoff single in the third. He was the first baserunner for either team and Brenton Allen made him count with a double to left center that scored Zeile for a 1-0 UCLA lead.

Oregon answered right back, though, getting to Grant Watson with two outs. Watson issued a two-out walk to give the Ducks their first baserunner, then Oregon's first base hit put two on for Aaron Payne, who singled up the middle to score a run and tie the game at 1-1.

The game remained tied until the fifth, when UCLA's offense got going again. Kevin Williams singled with one out and Allen followed with his second hit of the game, a single to right that was botched to allow both runners to take an extra base. That brought up Brian Carroll with two men in scoring position and the junior did his job to get UCLA the lead back with a groundout to shortstop. Williams scored on the play and the Bruins were back in front, but Eric Filia made sure that wouldn't be it for UCLA by singling with two out to score Allen as the visitors took a 3-1 lead.

But just like the last time UCLA scored, Oregon came right back in the bottom half of the inning. Consecutive singles and a walk loaded the bases with only one out for the Ducks and ended Watson's day. John Savage pulled him in favor of Ryan Deeter, who got the first man he faced to ground into a fielder's choice. It scored a run to cut the Ducks' deficit in half, but it got the Bruins one out away from escaping with their lead intact. It wasn't to be, though, as Oregon drew another walk to load the bases again for Scott Heineman, who laced a bases clearing triple to right center. Three runs came across to score and the Ducks had their first lead of the game at 5-3.

The UCLA offense went silent from there. Only one man reached in the next four innings and he was erased on a double play as the Ducks held on and denied the Bruins a gigantic series sweep.

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