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UCLA Bullpen Can’t Hold Lead as Bruins Lose to Texas, 5-4

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After losing to Texas last night, UCLA looks to bounce back and avoid losing the series to the Longhorns.

Nick Valaika was one of two Bruins who homered last night against Texas.
Joe Piechowski

Well, at least, the Bruins are hitting the ball. Despite the fact that UCLA managed to score four runs on eight hits, the Bruin bullpen could not hold the lead again last night as UCLA lost to Texas 5-4 in the opener of their weekend series.

UCLA starter Griffin Canning allowed 3 runs on six hits in seven innings pitched. That was good enough to position him to win the game if the bullpen could hold on to the lead.

That’s because UCLA started the scoring in the 2nd inning when Nick Valaika homered to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Right fielder Patrick Mathis tied it up at 1-1 with a solo home run of his own.

The Longhorns took the lead in the 6th when Texas first baseman Kacy Clemens, son of former Major League pitcher Roger Clemens, homered to left center.

But, UCLA came back with a big rally in the top of the 7th. In that inning, the Bruins scored 3 runs on a Kyle Cuellar homer which drove in both Brett Stephens and Daniel Rosica. UCLA led 4-2 after 6 and a half.

In the bottom of the 7th, Texas pinch-hit for DH Tate Shaw with Clemens’ other son Kody. He grounded out but was able to also drive in a run for the Longhorns to make it 4-3, UCLA.

In the bottom of the 8th, John Savage went to his bullpen for the first time all game. He replaced Canning with Scott Burke. After Burke gave up a single, Savage brought in the Bruins’ closer Brian Gadsby who promptly gave up a game-tying double to Travis Jones.

Justin Hooper entered the game for Gadsby and gave up two walks including one with the bases loaded to drive in what would be the game-winning run.

Today, Texas sends junior Morgan Cooper (1-0, 1.89 ERA) to the mound while John Savage has not announced a starter, presumably for the same reason Jake Bird didn’t pitch at home last Saturday. But, if Bird can go, look for him on the hill. If he can’t, we could see Moises Ceja make the second start of his career.

Today’s game will be televised on the Longhorn Network, so you can watch it if you have that channel. If not, you can always listen to it live with John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm. You can also follow along with the live Texas Stat Broadcast. First pitch is at 2 pm PT.

This is your UCLA Bruin Baseball vs. Texas Longhorns open thread.

Go Bruins!