The UCLA Bruins baseball team (42-13; 22-7 PAC 12) dropped a tough one last night, falling to the Oregon Ducks (36-23; 15-14 PAC 12), 5-4, in an 11 inning affair in Eugene. The teams will square off at noon today in the final regular season game of the year. UCLA has not lost a series all season, and the Bruins will want to end the regular season on a high note. Oregon is fighting for their postseason lives. A series win over UCLA could put the Ducks into the field of 64, so they will be extra motivated to get the win.
The Ducks got on the board first last night on the strength of a triple and a sacrifice fly, to take a 1-0 lead in the 6th inning. The lead was short-lived, as Brett Stephens launched a three run bomb over the right field fence, staking the Bruins to a 3-1 lead.
The Ducks struck right back with a three run home run of their own in the bottom half of the frame, to retake the lead, 4-3. Tucker Forbes had a rough outing, relieving starter, Grant Watson, after Watty gave up a single to start the 7th. Forbes came in and gave up a double and the aforementioned three run home run to the Ducks' Mark Karaviotis. Forbes got out the inning without further damage, but he was not his usual stellar self.
UCLA tied the game, 4-4, in the 8th inning, on a Chris Keck double and Christoph Bono single. UCLA had a chance to take the lead in the 9th inning, with runners at the corners with one out. The Ducks' closer, Garrett Cleavinger, struck out Luke Persico and Chris Keck to end the threat.
The Bruins never threatened in the extra frames. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Oregon seemingly had the game won on a sacrifice fly, but UCLA Head Coach, John Savage, appealed to the umpire, who ruled that the runner tagged up and left third base early, giving UCLA the third out.
The Ducks ended the game in the 11th. Grant Dyer, who threw 3 and 2/3 innings of 2 hit ball, hit two batters and issued a walk to load the bases. With two outs, the Ducks' Phil Craig-St. Louis singled through the right side, driving in the game winner, and giving Oregon the victory, 5-4. Dyer took the loss.
Hunter Virant (0-1, 3.05 ERA) will take the mound for UCLA at noon today. This will be Virant's third consecutive Sunday start (and the third start of his career). Virant is 0-1 in those starts, pitching a combined 9 innings and giving up a total of three runs in those two starts. The Ducks will counter with Josh Graham (4-1, 2.70 ERA).
After the game, at 5:30 p.m. PT, the NCAA will announce the sixteen regional hosts. No matter the outcome of today's game, UCLA will be a regional host. The entire postseason field will be announced tomorrow.
This is your UCLA v. Oregon Game 3 Open Thread.