Bumped. - BN Eds.
UCLA walked off Goodwin Field last June 8 with a 3-0 victory, clinching a trip to Omaha. Last night, in their first visit since that glorious day, the Bruins were not as fortunate, falling 4-3 to the host Titans.
This game had been set up nicely for a Bruin victory, because Fullerton had only played 3 midweek games all season, and had to put together a makeshift pitching rotation for last night's game. Meanwhile, UCLA had 4 victories in 6 midweek games, and was starting the same pitcher who had started all the previous games, Grant Dyer.
Fullerton's starting pitcher,Tyler Peitzmeier, who was making his 1st start of the season, only lasted through 2 outs in the 2nd. The next Fullerton pitcher, freshman Chad Hockin (with a 9.00 ERA), got out of a bases loaded threat by the Bruins.
UCLA chased Hockin in the top of the 3rd when Christoph Bono singled, Shane Zeile was hit by a pitch, and they advanced on a sac bunt. Fullerton then brought in one of their better relievers, Koby Gauna. Justin Hazard, starting only his 4th game for UCLA, came through with a 2 out, 2 run single to put the Bruins ahead 2-0. All was right with the world.
In the bottom of the 3rd, unfortunately, Fullerton got one run back on a 2 out single. This broke a scoreless streak of 5 innings by Grant Dyer.
UCLA loaded the bases in the top of the 4th, but a groundout ended the threat. The teams traded scoreless innings until the bottom of the 5th, when Fullerton got to Dyer again with a 2 run triple and a run scoring ground out. Dyer's night ended after 5 innings, with 4 earned runs allowed on 5 hits and 2 walks.
Cody Poteet, the Sunday starter, made a rare relief appearance for the Bruins, pitching the 6th inning. Poteet was followed by Max Schuh for 3 batters and one out in the top of the 7th. Nick Kern induced an inning ending double play to end the threat, and pitched a scoreless 8th as well. So the UCLA bullpen did its job, throwing 3 innings of scoreless relief.
Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ledger, the 4th Fullerton pitcher gave up a single with one out in the 7th. He was relieved by Willie Kuhl, who proved to be a gracious host by throwing 2 wild pitches and a sac fly by Luke Persico to make the score 4-3. Fullerton then brought in their 6th pitcher, who retired the Bruins in order in the 8th and 9th innings, to send UCLA home in defeat. For those with a morbid curiosity, here is the box score.
The Bruins are now 18-13. UCLA is 7-5 in 1 run games this season. Last season the Bruins were 17-2. So this year, the team is doing enough to keep games close, but is not able to finish the deal.
Next stop is Tucson, for a 3 game conference series against Arizona. The Bruins will not have the luxury of makeshift pitching from the opposition. The Mildcats are in the bottom half of conference standings. But one thing we have definitely learned this season is to take nothing for granted.
Time to turn the ship around. Go Bruins !!