The UCLA Baseball team dropped the second game of its series to Utah on Friday afternoon, falling to the Utes by a score of, 8-6, at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mitch Watrous (2-4) picked up the win for Utah, pitching five innings and allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out four. Junior Grant Watson (4-5) took the loss for the Bruins, giving up six runs on 11 hits in four innings pitched. Watson struck out three as well. Nick Green earned his sixth save of the season for the Utes.
The Bruins wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first. With one out, sophomore Ty Moore and junior Shane Zeile reached on a single and a walk respectively to put two runners on for senior Kevin Williams. Williams came through on the first pitch, smacking a double off the wall in right-center to score the runners and give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. UCLA then tacked on another run in the top of the second as freshman Brett Stephens drove in sophomore Trent Chatterton from second with a one-out double to put the Bruins ahead by three.
In the bottom of the third, Utah got one back as Cody Scaggari hit a solo home run to lead off the inning, cutting UCLA’s lead to 3-1. However, the Bruins would increase their lead to four with two runs in the top of the fifth. After Stephens led off with a hit by pitch, Moore doubled him over to third to put men in scoring position for Zeile. Zeile then crushed a 2-2 pitch to the right-center gap for a triple, scoring Stephens and Moore and making it a 5-1 game in UCLA’s favor.
Utah would take back the lead though in the bottom of the fifth with a seven-run frame. After the Utes led off the inning with back-to-back singles, Max Schuman stepped in and hit a triple to right-center, scoring the runners and making it 5-3 UCLA. On the next pitch, TJ Bennett singled to right field, bringing home Schuman to cut the UCLA lead to one. The next batter was Wyler Smith, who tripled to left-center to score Bennett and tie the game at 5-5. Watson was relieved by freshman Grant Dyer after that and after Dyer hit Cory Hunt with a pitch, he allowed an infield single to Konnor Armijo that allowed Smith to score from third and gave the Utes the lead. After a single loaded the bases with nobody out, sophomore Jake Ehret came in to face Braden Anderson. Anderson hit a hard grounder to short that looked to be a double play ball, but the ball took a bad hop and skipped over Chatterton’s head for a two-run single, making the score 8-5 Utah. Ehret was able to get the next three batters to end the inning but Utah’s seven runs gave them a three-run lead.
The scoring slowed down from there as neither side could bring home a run for the next three innings. In the top of the ninth, UCLA was able to get one back as Stephens scored on a RBI groundout by Moore, but that would be all and the Bruins fell to the Utes, 8-6.
Stephens and Moore led the UCLA offense with two hits, two runs and a RBI each. Freshman Luke Persico also logged two hits while Chatterton went 2-4 with a run.
UCLA (20-16, 8-6 Pac-12) and Utah (12-22, 3-14 Pac-12) will conclude their three-game set tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT. Sophomore Cody Poteet will take the mound for the Bruins in the series finale.
Game Notes: UCLA had two more batters get hit by a pitch in today’s game, bringing their season total to 61 batters hit by a pitch through 36 games…Jake Ehret and Max Schuh combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief in today’s ballgame…Ehret’s three innings pitched were a new career-high for the sophomore right-hander…Kevin Williams and Shane Zeile recorded their fourth and third multi-RBI game of the season respectively, with each player logging two RBI in today’s game…Luke Persico has now hit safely in a season-high five straight games…today’s loss snapped UCLA’s seven-game winning streak over Utah.