The UCLA Baseball team (21-22) suffered defeat at the hands of the UC Irvine Anteaters (26-17) last night, 4-2, in the first game of their three game home and home series. The loss wasted a solid effort by UCLA starter, Griffin Canning, who allowed only two runs in eight innings pitched.
Reliever, Moises Ceja, who came up huge for UCLA last Tuesday by holding off Long State State with two scoreless innings to preserve an 11-10 UCLA win, took yesterday's loss in extra innings. Ceja worked a scoreless ninth, although UCI stranded the bases loaded, but the Anteaters got to him in the 10th. With the score tied after nine, 2-2, Ceja loaded the bases (again) on a hit batter, a single, and a walk. With two outs, Anteater left fielder Adam Alcantara singled to left, scoring two.
UCLA went down quietly in the bottom of the 10th, as UCI's excellent closer, Calvin Faucher came on to retire the Bruins in order, earning his 8th save of the season.
The game did not have to go into extra innings, as UCLA had the potential winning run on second base with one out in the form of Christoph Bono in the bottom of the 9th. The Bruins could not get it done, as Trent Chatterton grounded to second and Brett Urabe struck out swinging.
Once again, one team (Irvine) got a timely hit in a critical situation and the other (UCLA) could not do so. Moments like those make up the difference right now between playing in the post-season and staying home.
In yesterday's series preview, I warned about the Anteaters' all-everything designated hitter, Keston Hiura. Well, UCLA appeared not to take notice, as Hiura went off, going 5 for 5, including a key single and a run scored in the decisive 10th inning.
Today, the teams travel to Orange County for a 2 p.m. PT start at Anteater Ballpark. UCLA will send Grant Dyer (2-3, 5.89 ERA) to the mound. This is a huge start for Dyer, who was roughed up last week in Salt Lake City. UCLA desperately needs a series win, so a lot is on the line today with only 13 games left in the season. The Anteaters will counter with sophomore left hander, Cameron Bishop (5-3, 4.71 ERA).
You can follow the action today via UCLA's live audio stream or via live stats, courtesy of UCI. If you are an Orange County Bruin, come out to the stadium to check out the game and cheer on your Bruins!
This is your UCLA v. UC Irvine Game 2 open thread.