UCLA Drops Game One to USC, 7-4
LOS ANGELES – No. 15 UCLA got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but saw its comeback effort fall short in a 7-4 loss to crosstown rival USC on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Bruins (9-5, 0-1 Pac-12) opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, but the Trojans (10-2, 1-0) answered back with a four-spot in the second and another two runs in the eighth to establish control.
UCLA mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth to make it a close game. Sophomore right fielder JonJon Vaughns and graduate left fielder Kenny Oyama sparked the rally with a walk and hit by pitch, respectively, and both were later able to come across when graduate first baseman Jake Palmer slapped a base hit into the left-center field gap.
After Palmer's single, which made it 7-4, freshman Cody Schrier worked a full-count walk to bring the game-tying run to the plate for UCLA. Freshman second baseman Ethan Gourson put together a strong at-bat – seeing nine pitches overall and launching a would-be game-tying home run wide of the right field foul pole – but ultimately popped to shallow left field to end the game.
Palmer went 2-4 in the contest to lead the Bruins' offense. Gourson doubled home Oyama in the bottom of the first to bring in the game's first run, and Vaughns drew a walk in each of his four plate appearances.
It was the third time in his last five games that Vaughns drew at least three walks. He now has more bases on balls (10) than official at-bats (9) this season.
USC was led by leadoff man Rylan Thomas (3-5) and DH Tyler Lozano, who hit a two-run home run to right field as part of that four-run second for the visitors. Right-hander Carson Lambert earned the win for USC with two innings of shutout relief after starter Jaden Agassi (4.2 IP, 2 ER) failed to complete the requisite five innings.
UCLA starter Jake Brooks was on the mound for that four-run rally by the Trojans, but was excellent otherwise, ending the day with four earned runs allowed on four hits with four strikeouts over seven full innings.
The Fountain Valley, Calif. native went 1-2-3 in his five of his seven frames, and gave up just one hit (a single) after the second inning.
Oyama was busy for the Bruins in left field, making a season-high eight catches over the course of the night. The Bruins committed no errors on defense for the fifth time in the last six games.
UCLA and USC continue the series on Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. PT. The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.