March 13, 2005
COLLEGE STATION, Tx. - Three days, one story for UCLA this weekend as the Bruins failed to hold an early lead for the third consecutive game and dropped Sunday's series finale to No. 9 Texas A&M 5-3 at Olsen Field. UCLA has now lost nine straight games for the first time since March 21 - April 5, 1981 and head into a 16 day, spring-break/finals induced hiatus.
The Bruins (7-13) took led 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth but the Aggies (15-5) again scored five unanswered runs in the games' final four and a half innings to win their eighth game in their last nine contests.
UCLA starter Bryan Beck tossed a solid six innings, at one point retiring ten batters in a row, but fell into trouble in the seventh. He drops to 0-3 with the loss as Aggie reliever Jordan Chambless improves to 1-0 with three scorless innings out of the bullpen.
Like the first two games of the series UCLA scored first. With one out in the Bruin fourth, center fielder Anthony Norman, making just his fourth start of the season, launched his first career home run off Aggie starter Clayton Turner. The next batter, catcher Aaron Markel, who was making his first start of the season, doubled to center and scored two batters later on Will Penniall's RBI base hit. UCLA threatened to put up more runs but Sean Smith popped out to shortstop with two outs and runners on second and third.
The Bruins added another run in the fifth as UCLA strung together three consecutive hits off of A&M relievers Kyle Nicholson and Kevin Whelan. After Kris Kasarjian singled and Eric Taylor doubled, Norman picked up his second RBI of the afternoon with his third hit, a single which scored Kasrjian for the 3-0 Bruin lead. Again, though, UCLA could have had more, but with two outs, Norman was picked off at second with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Texas A&M got on the board in the fifth courtesy of shortstop Cliff Pennington's third home run of the year, a two-run shot to right field. Beck had retired ten consecutive Aggies prior to a two-out base hit from center fielder John Infante and the homer by Pennington.
UCLA loaded the bases again with one out in the sixth but Whelan induced Kasarjian into an inning-ending double play to escape the jam. After six innings the Bruins had already stranded 11 base runners.
The Aggies broke through with three more runs in the seventh against Beck to take the lead. Again, like in the fifth, Infante singled with two outs bringing up the switch-hitting Pennington. The shortstop then pounded Beck's 2-2 offering down the left field line, scoring Infante with the game-tying run. Back-to-back doubles by second baseman Parker Dalton and designated hitter Ryan Hill plated two more runs for the Aggies.
Once again UCLA put a runner on third with less than two outs in the eighth but Smith popped up to second base and Ambriz struck out looking to end the inning.
Penniall finished his day 3-for-5 with three singles and an RBI. Norman was 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Both Penniall and Norman stole two bases apiece.
UCLA will not return to action until it hosts the defending national champions Cal State Fullerton at 6 p.m. on March 29.