In a game that was back and forth from the very start, the UCLA Baseball team lost a heartbreaker on Sunday afternoon, falling to the Arizona Wildcats, 6-5, on a walkoff infield single by Kevin Newman.
Bobby Dalbec picked up the win for the Wildcats, improving to 2-2 after throwing a scoreless ninth inning. Freshman Scott Burke took the loss for UCLA to drop to 0-1, giving up a run without recording an out. Tyger Talley was the starting pitcher for Arizona as he allowed four runs on seven hits in just three innings of work. Sophomore Cody Poteet started the game for the Bruins, throwing three innings and giving up three runs on six hits while striking out two.
UCLA wasted no time getting on the board as they scored a pair of runs in the top of the first. Sophomore Ty Moore and junior Shane Zeile reached on back-to-back singles with one out and two batters later sophomore Christoph Bono stepped in. Bono looped a single to center, scoring Moore to give the Bruins the lead. Freshman Luke Persico then ripped a single to left on the very next pitch, bringing home Zeile to make it 2-0 Bruins.
Arizona got a run back in the bottom half of the inning though as Newman singled in Zach Gibbons from second with one out to cut the UCLA lead to one. Poteet was able to get out of the rest of the inning without any further damage and the Bruins tacked on an insurance run in the top of the second. After junior Chris Keck singled to lead off the inning, he moved up to second on a sacrifice. Senior Brian Carroll came up two batters later with two outs and dropped a single into right field to score Keck and bring UCLA’s lead back up to two.
The Wildcats again answered in their half of the second with another run off of Poteet. Kenny Meimerstorf led off the inning with a double to left, moving up to third on a sacrifice bunt. He eventually came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Joseph Maggi to make the score 3-2, UCLA. The Bruins tacked yet another run in the top of third, starting when Zeile led off the inning with a double. After moving to third on a groundout by senior Kevin Williams, Zeile came in on a sacrifice fly by Bono to give UCLA a 4-2 lead.
Then in the bottom of the fourth, Arizona took the lead with a three-run frame. Riley Moore led off the inning with a double to right, chasing Poteet from the game. With freshman Grant Dyer in the game, Moore moved to third on a passed ball and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch with Cody Ramer at the plate, again cutting the UCLA lead to one. Ramer then drew a walk and a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with one out for Gibbons. Gibbons went on to double to left-center to score two runs and give the Wildcats a 5-4 lead. Junior Max Schuh then came on in relief of Dyer, and after a walk did well to limit the damage, getting a 6-4-3 double play from Scott Kingery to end the inning.
Once again the Bruins fought back, as Williams tied things up in the top of the fifth with a two-out single back up the middle that plated Carroll, leveling the game at 5-5. After a scoreless sixth, Arizona threatened in the bottom of the seventh, putting runners on first and second with nobody out via two UCLA errors. Junior David Berg, who had entered the game in the sixth, settled down and recovered though, getting Dalbec, who started the game as the designated hitter, to foul out on a third strike bunt attempt and Riley Moore to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The eighth inning went scoreless and the game went to the bottom of the ninth still tied at 5-5. Burke entered in the bottom of the ninth and surrendered a leadoff double to Gibbons. Sophomore Jake Ehret then came on in relief of Burke and got his first batter, Gilbert, to strike out on three pitches. After a single by Tyler Krause moved Gibbons to third, Newman stepped in and on a 3-2 count hit a high chopper to third. Keck fielded the ball cleanly but his throw to home was too late and Gibbons scored the winning run to give Arizona the win.
Overall, Zeile led UCLA with a 2-4 day that included a double and two runs scored. Bono added two RBI and a hit while Keck went 2-4 with a run.
UCLA (19-15, 7-5 Pac-12) will conclude its road trip next weekend with a three-game series at Utah (11-21, 2-13 Pac-12) from Thursday, April 17 to Saturday, April 19. Game times are 4 p.m. PT, 4 p.m. PT and 11 a.m. PT respectively and Thursday and Friday’s games will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks.
Game Notes: Shane Zeile recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game and the fifth in his last seven games overall…he has also reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 games and has logged at least one hit in six of his last seven games…Zeile hit .444 in four games this week, scoring five runs…the Bruins have now laid down a successful sacrifice bunt in 13 of their last 14 games, bringing their season total to 51 sacrifice bunts…David Berg made his nation-leading 25th appearance in today’s game and has now not allowed a run in his last 6.1 innings of work… Ty Moore set a new career-high by extending his hitting streak to five games…this was UCLA's first Pac-12 series loss to Arizona since 2005, snapping a streak of eight consecutive conference series wins for the Bruins over the Wildcats...four of UCLA’s five runs in the game came with two outs in the inning.