The Arizona baseball team saw its 5-2 lead wilt away over the final four innings as the Bruins rallied to win 8-5.
April 17, 2011
UCLA 8, Arizona 5 (Box Score)
LOS ANGELES - The No. 20 Arizona baseball team had No. 23 UCLA on the ropes, but six runs in the final three trips to the plate for the Bruins handed the visiting Wildcats an 8-5 loss on Sunday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Beau Amaral delivered the game-tying home run in the bottom of the seventh and emphatically gave the Bruins the lead with a bases-clearing three-run double in the bottom of the eighth. Amaral finished with six RBI on the day.
Arizona (23-13, 5-7 Pac-10) carried a two-run lead into the seventh inning, but reliever Nick Cunningham gave up a leadoff single to Jeff Gelalich, which set the table for Amaral's two-run home run that tied the game 5-5.
An inning later, Matt Chaffee took the mound seeking to preserve the tie, but issued a leadoff walk before a sacrifice bunt moved a runner into scoring position. Chaffee then hit a batter and walked another to load the bases, before Amaral delivered the knockout blow with a line drive double down the left field line to give the Bruins' their first lead since the first inning.
In the ninth, reliever Nick Vander Tuig, who recorded the final two outs in the eighth, set the Wildcats down in order to pick up the victory. Chaffee was charged with the loss for the Wildcats.
UCLA (19-12, 9-3 Pac-10) scored an unearned run in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Arizona starter Tyler Hale issued a one-out walk to Amaral, who advanced to third after shortstop Alex Mejia committed an error when a slow chopper scooted under his glove and into left field. Cody Regis drove home Amaral with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
The Wildcats tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second. Robert Refsnyder opened the frame with a single to left field and reached second base on a wild pitch. A groundout moved Refsnyder to third, before Johnny Field lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in the Wildcats' first run since the fifth inning of Friday's series-opening 5-4 victory.
Hale escaped potential trouble in the second inning. A one-out single and a balk put a runner on second, before a wild pitch and a walk to Pat Valaika set runners at the corners. But with Gelalich at the plate, Hale executed a third-to-first pickoff attempt that caught Valaika in a steal attempt.
Arizona took its first lead of the game with two runs in the top of the third. Bryce Ortega and Joey Rickard hit one-out singles to put runners on first and second. Then, Plutko tried to pick off Ortega at second, which set off an interesting series of miscues in the field.
Plutko's throw dribbled into the outfield to allow each runner to move up a base. Then, the toss back to second base also got away from the Bruins, which allowed Ortega lto score from third. With two outs, Jett Bandy knocked a run-scoring double to right centerfield to bring home Rickard and give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead.
Hale eluded a scoring threat in the home half of the fourth by the Bruins, who put runners on the corners with one out. But Hale mixed in a pair of strikeouts around the singles and induced an inning-ending fly out to strand a pair of Bruin base runners.
UCLA pushed across its second run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Valaika hit a leadoff double and was bunted over to third base by Jeff Gelalich. Amaral followed with an RBI single to bring home Amaral and cut UA's lead to 3-2.
Arizona added a run to its 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning following three errors by the Bruins. With two outs, Cole Frenzel, who singled to lead off the inning, advanced to third base when Pltuko's pickoff attempt wildly sailed past the first base bag.
Josh Garcia followed with a chopper to third base, but the throw across the diamond was errant, allowing Frenzel to score. Next, Johnny Field hit a sharp line drive single to left field that slide under the glove of Keefer, which resulted in Garcia scoring all the way from first base to give the Wildcats a 5-2 advantage.
The Bruins scratched across a run in the bottom of the sixth. Keefer reached on a two-out infield single, and pinch hitter Marc Navarro drew a walk to put two runners on. Steve Rodriguez followed with a bloop single to right field that scored Keefer and put runners on the corners.
The Wildcats went to the bullpen and called on right-hander Nick Cunningham to face Valaika. Cunningham quickly put an end the Bruins' rally, getting Valaika to ground out to third base.
But that was as good as things would get for the Wildcats, who did not score over the final three innings.
Hale, who did not factor into the decision, threw 5.2 innings with three runs - two earned - allowed. He scattered seven hits and four walks with six strikeouts.
Arizona will remain on the road next week for a three-game conference series against Oregon. The Thursday-Saturday series will begin on Thursday, April 21, at 6 p.m. (PDT) in Eugene, Ore.