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Bruins Clinch Harvard Series With 3-2 Walk-Off Win

Mar 20, 2022
Ethan Gourson (photo: Scott Chandler)

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA baseball team captured a walk-off 3-2 win over Harvard on Sunday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium, forcing in the game-winning run on a bases-loaded balk in the 11th inning to clinch the series over the Crimson.

Redshirt sophomore JonJon Vaughns and graduate first baseman Jake Palmer laid the foundation for the walk-off rally in the 11th, as Vaughns led off the frame by working a walk before moving to third on a solid base hit from Palmer.

A bunt single from Malakhi Knight would load the bases for the Bruins (12-7), bringing up junior catcher Darius Perry with one out.

Perry would never even see a pitch however, as Harvard (8-7) pitcher Will Jacobsen flinched while coming set. That miscue brought in pinch-runner Alex Fernandes from third for the game-ending run.

The Bruins never trailed in Sunday's rubber match, going ahead with a single run in the first and leading 2-0 after five. However, Harvard halved the lead on a Logan Bravo solo homer in the sixth, then sent it to extras after rallying for a single run in the eighth.

Palmer (3-4, two walks) was the Bruins' most productive hitter in the game, reaching base five times overall. Cody Schrier (2-4, two walks) and JonJon Vaughns (1-3, three walks) were also on-base machines for UCLA. As a team, the Bruins collected 10 hits and got another 14 runners on via walk or HBP.

Freshman Thatcher Hurd was solid in his first-career weekend start, allowing just one earned run on two hits over 5 1/3 innings. He added six strikeouts, but walked a career-high four.

The Mira Costa HS product allowed hits to the first and last batters he faced in the game, but held the Crimson to an 0-15 line in between.

Freshman right-hander Luke Jewett finished off the game for UCLA, facing the minimum over a two-inning relief outing en route to his first-collegiate victory.

Strong defense was a theme all afternoon for the Bruins, with several players turning in highlight-reel plays over the course of the game.

Particular highlights included a running catch at the right field wall from Vaughns in the first, a diving catch in the right-center field gap by Malakhi Knight in the fifth, and an inning-ending double play from Schrier off a line drive in the 10th inning.

This week, UCLA will play its first true road games of the 2022 season, heading to Loyola Marymount for a 6:00 p.m. Tuesday matchup before trekking east for a three-game Pac-12 set at Arizona starting at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night.