The UCLA Bruin baseball (37-20) team could not hold on to a one run lead going into the late innings last night, allowing the tying run to score in the eighth, and then allowing another run in the top of the 10th inning, falling to the Minnesota Golden Gophers (43-13) by the score of 3-2.
The Bruins will play the Gonzaga Bulldogs (33-23) today at 12 noon, loser goes home. The winner of that game will have to beat Minnesota twice (once later today and once tomorrow) in order to advance to the super regional next weekend.
Last night, UCLA looked to be in control of a pitcher’s duel between the freshman starting pitchers, UCLA’s Zach Pettway and Minnesota’s Patrick Fredrickson. Fredrickson allowed only two UCLA runs, one earned, on four hits in six innings. Pettway was even sharper, throwing seven innings of four hit, one run ball, with the only run coming on a solo home run by center fielder Alex Boxwell.
That blast, in the top of the second inning, tied the game, after UCLA had struck first in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Michael Toglia, which scored Jeremy Ydens. The Bruins would retake the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of second inning, on a Garrett Mitchell fielder’s choice groundout to the right side of the infield, scoring Daniel Amaral from third.
Scoring wise, that would be it for UCLA, but the Gophers would get the UCLA bullpen immediately after Pettway left the game. In the top of the eighth inning, Kyle Mora surrendered a double to shortstop Terrin Vavra on his third pitch of the game and then, on the next pitch, gave up an RBI single up the middle to catcher Eli Wilson, tying the ball game, 2-2.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Max Meyer (2-2) took over on the mound for Minnesota, and he would only allow one hit in three innings, securing the win.
Mora would pitch a scoreless ninth inning but, in the top of the 10th inning, the Zags would strike again with him on the mound, care of a leadoff single by Vavra, and a one-out, RBI double by third baseman Micah Coffee.
The Bruins did not threaten in the bottom of the tenth inning, sealing UCLA’s fate and putting them in an elimination game today. Mora (6-3) took the loss for the Bruins.
Today, in all likelihood, Ryan Garcia (7-1, 2.34 ERA) will take the hill for the Bruins. Mac Lardner (7-3, 2.67 ERA) is expected to start for the Zags.
The Bruins will now need to win three straight games to advance out of the Minneapolis Regional. But they cannot afford to look past Gonzaga. The Zags will be eager to put UCLA’s comeback victory on Friday behind them and get revenge on the Bruins by sending them back to Westwood before UCLA has a shot at retribution against the Golden Gophers.
Will UCLA get eliminated early, or will they manage to extend their life against some tough odds? First pitch is at noon. If the Bruins win, they would play again, this time against Minnesota, at approximately 4 p.m.
Stream the game on ESPN3 (or listen to Tim Wilhelm call the game online) and follow the action!
This is your NCAA Minneapolis Regional, Day Three open thread. Please feel free to give us your thoughts and comments below.