UCLA started its final home series of the 2016 season in disappointing fashion, getting blown out by the Arizona State Sun Devils, 12-4. The loss drops UCLA to 24-27, 11-14 in the PAC 12, with five game remaining. UCLA needs to finish 4-1 in order to reach .500, both in conference and overall.
UCLA and ASU traded single runs in the 3rd inning. UCLA notched its run on an Eric Filia solo home run. Going into the 4th inning, the score was tied, 1-1.
The Bruins could have taken a lead in the bottom of the 1st, loading the bases with one out, but Kort Peterson and Christoph Bono both struck out swinging. Stranding runners and not getting the timely hit has been a consistent theme for UCLA this season and last night was no different, as the Bruins stranded a total of ten base runners.
The Sun Devils struck for three more runs in the fourth inning, on the strength of an RBI double followed by a two run home run, but UCLA answered with two runs of their own, on a Daniel Rosica two RBI double. Rosica's development has been one of the few bright spots for UCLA baseball this season. After the 4th, UCLA trailed 4-3.
It stayed that way until the 7th inning, when ASU exploded for six runs, chasing Griffin Canning. Canning had a poor outing, throwing 6 and 1/3 innings, surrendering eight runs (all earned) on eight hits. Brain Gadsby came in to try to put out the fire, but only poured fuel on it, giving up three straight hits before recording an out.
Gadsby, who showed so much promise as David Berg's heir apparent at the closer spot at the beginning of the season, appears to have lost his swagger, which can be traced to the blown Sunday game at Arizona, where Gadsby and UCLA blew a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th inning. Frankly, that game was the turning point of the UCLA's season.
After 7 innings, ASU led 10-3, and it was all but over. The Sun Devils tacked on two more runs in the 9th, and UCLA plated one in the bottom half of the frame, which accounts for the 12-4 final score.
Seth Martinez earned his ninth win of the season for the Sun Devils, while Canning took the loss for UCLA, dropping his record to 5-7.
Down the stretch, playing nine straight games at Jackie Robinson Stadium with a chance at the post-season, UCLA has instead spit the bit, going 2-5 in the first seven of those games. And it needed a miracle finish against Southern Cal on Saturday in order to scratch out one of those wins.
Last night's win boosts Arizona State's post-season chances. The Sun Devils now sit in sole possession of 3rd place in the PAC 12, at 14-11 (32-18) overall.
Tonight, UCLA will send Grant Dyer (3-3, 4.95 ERA) to the mound. ASU will counter with Eli Lingos (3-3, 3.59 ERA). First pitch is 7 p.m. PT. The game is televised on the PAC 12 Networks, but you can also follow along via live audio stream or live statistics.
The is your UCLA v. Arizona State game two open thread.