Bruins Drop Tuesday Contest to Pepperdine, 7-5
LOS ANGELES – A trio of freshmen UCLA pitchers combined to total 17 strikeouts over eight innings, but a six-run rally by the visitors in the ninth inning proved decisive in a 7-5 loss to Pepperdine on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the top of the ninth, the Waves (4-0) set up the game-winning rally with back-to-back seeing-eye singles to open the frame. After a throwing error on a sac bunt attempt and a walk to load the bases, Pepperdine shortstop John Peck hit a grand slam to left field to put his team up for good. They would eventually add another run before the inning expired to make it 7-3.
UCLA (2-2) fought back in the bottom of the ninth, getting the first two runners of the inning on and ultimately cashing in both to make it a two-run game. Sophomore first baseman Daylen Reyes's RBI single in the frame put the game-tying run on base with two outs, but Pepperdine's Grant Georges got a ground ball to second to close it out.
UCLA's talented trio of freshmen hurlers was the story through the first eight innings of the game, as lefty Ethan Flanagan and righties Alonzo Tredwell and Luke Jewett limited the Waves to just one run while striking out 17.
Flanagan drew the start for the Bruins, striking out eight over 3 2/3 innings in his NCAA debut. The Irvine native gave up a double to the first batter he faced in the game, but bounced back to strike out the side in that inning while putting up a zero. He ultimately was in line for the win heading into the ninth inning.
Tredwell was even more dominant, allowing just one hit and recording all but one of his outs via the "K" over a 2 1/3 inning outing. His first strikeout was the most important – he was summoned to relieve Flanagan in a two-on, two-out situation with the Bruins leading 2-1, and he responded by freezing pinch-hitter Charles Masino on an outside fastball to escape the jam.
He went on to strike out the side in the fifth, and also fanned the first two batters of the sixth before getting Mike Malinchak to roll out to second for a 1-2-3 frame.
Jewett added a five-up, five-down relief appearance to complete the trio of excellent frosh performances. Both of the Ladera Ranch, Calif. native's strikeouts came in the eighth.
Offensively, the Bruins were led by Reyes who had a 2-5 line in his first start of the year. Fresh off his walk-off home run on Sunday against CSUN, freshman second baseman Ethan Gourson had the hardest-struck hit of the night for UCLA, smacking a double into the left field corner to lead off the seventh before scoring on a bases-loaded walk to Jake Palmer.
UCLA returns to action on Wednesday night, hosting Omaha (1-3) for a 6:00 p.m. game. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, and an audio broadcast can be heard through UCLA Lean Player.