UCLA Baseball Defeated by No. 24 UC Irvine, 10-2

The UCLA Baseball team was defeated by No. 24 UC Irvine on Tuesday night, falling to the Anteaters, 10-2, at Anteater Ballpark.

Mitch Merten (2-2) earned the win for the Anteaters, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings in relief. Freshman Grant Dyer (6-5) took the loss for the Bruins, pitching 3.2 innings and allowing six runs on eight hits while striking out two.

UCLA threatened in the top of the first, getting runners on the corners with two outs on a double off the wall by junior Shane Zeile and an error at second that allowed sophomore Ty Moore to reach. Freshman Nick Kern was the next batter, but he struck out swinging to end the inning. UC Irvine then took the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Anteaters with one out. Dyer was able to get Jonathan Munoz to ground into a fielder’s choice as sophomore Justin Hazard threw out the runner at home for the second out. But Dyer then hit Jerry McClanahan with a pitch on the next at-bat to score Connor Spencer from third to give the Anteaters a 1-0 lead.

The Anteaters would go on to make it 2-0 in the bottom of the second as Grant Palmer scored Evan Cassolato from second with a one-out RBI double off of Dyer to put UC Irvine ahead by two. After a scoreless third, UC Irvine scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to increase its lead to six. With two outs and Kris Paulino on second, Palmer hit a bloop single to center that got by a diving Christoph Bono for a triple, allowing Paulino to score. After Spencer got hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners for Irvine, Taylor Sparks brought both runners home with a triple off the wall in left to make the score 5-0 in favor UC Irvine. Sparks then came around to score on a wild pitch by Dyer on the next at-bat to give the Anteaters a six-run lead.

The Bruins would fight back though, getting two runs in the top of the fifth to cut into the lead. Singles by Hazard and Trent Chatterton and a walk by freshman Brett Stephens loaded the bases for Zeile with one out. Zeile hit what looked to be a 6-4-3 double play, but Mikey Duarte’s throw at second went wide, allowing Zeile to reach and Hazard and Chatterton to score to bring UCLA to within four.

However, UC Irvine would tack on two more runs in the sixth to bring its lead back to six. With two outs and runners on the corners, Paulino singled back up the middle off of junior Max Schuh, bringing home McClanahan to give the Anteaters a 7-2 advantage. Then with runners on first and second, Palmer hit a routine grounder to Chatterton at short that looked to end the inning. The throw was on target but Hazard could not find the bag at first, allowing Palmer to reach and Justin Castro to score from second to make it 8-2, UC Irvine.

UC Irvine continued to score, adding two more runs in the bottom of the seventh. After Spencer and Sparks reached on a single and a walk respectively to start the inning, Munoz hit a one-hopper to second that got by freshman Luke Persico, allowing Spencer to score from second to make it 9-2.  Freshman Moises Ceja then came in to pitch for the Bruins, and after a walk to McClanahan loaded the bases Castro hit a sacrifice fly two batters later to score Sparks, giving the Anteaters a 10-2 lead. UCLA could not score any runs in its half of the eighth and ninth innings and the Bruins fell to the Anteaters, 10-2.

Chatterton led the UCLA offense with a 2-5 night that included a double and a run while Zeile logged a double and a RBI.

The Bruins (23-26-1, 10-14 Pac-12) will play their final home series of the season this weekend as they host the Oregon Ducks (37-16, 14-10 Pac-12) at Jackie Robinson Stadium from Friday, May 16 to Sunday, May 18. Game times are 7 p.m., 7 p.m. and 12 p.m. respectively and all three games will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks.

Game Notes: UCLA finishes the season with a 5-5-1 record in midweek games…the loss also snapped the Bruins’ five-game winning streak over UC Irvine…David Berg pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for the Bruins after missing the last seven games due to injury…Moises Ceja made his second collegiate appearance out of the bullpen tonight, tossing an inning in relief…UCLA’s four errors in tonight’s ballgame matched a season-high…UC Irvine’s final four runs of tonight’s game were all unearned...Ty Moore reached base safely for the 10th consecutive game and extended his hitting streak to a career-high six games.

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