Late Rally Comes Up Just Short
LOS ANGELES — Anthony Hall hit a two-run homer in the second and Oregon rallied for another run in the ninth, but that late surge came up just short in a 4-3 loss to UCLA on Saturday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Oregon (18-9, 7-4 Pac-12) rallied with two out in the ninth to make it a one-run game. Josh Kasevich, Hall and Sam Novitske all singled, with Novitske driving in Kasevich for his third RBI of the weekend. The rally ended with the potential game-tying run in scoring position.
"That was a tough one, but nevertheless it's baseball," UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. "It's against a very, very good pitching staff and a very good program. Tomorrow's a must-win game; tomorrow's a game that, we need to come out with a real fire and salvage a game here on this trip."
The Ducks and Bruins played a one-run game for the second day in a row and the fourth straight game in the series, going back to last season. In the five games the two teams have played since 2021, and entering Sunday's finale of this weekend's series, each team has scored 19 total runs.
How It Happened: For the second game in a row, a two-run homer gave Oregon the early lead. A day after Novitske got the Ducks on the board first, Hall did the honors Saturday with a soaring shot down the right-field line to drive in Kasevich.
UO starter Isaac Ayon (2-1) put another zero on the board in the bottom of the second, allowing the first two batters to reach before retiring the side. The Bruins broke through in the third, with a two-out, two-strike base hit to get within 2-1.
UCLA opened the fifth with a double, a single and another double to tie it, 2-2, and put runners on second and third with nobody out. Ayon retired the next two hitters, but each out brought home another run as the Bruins took a 4-2 lead.
The Ducks continued to battle — consecutive outs by Kasevich, Hall and Novitske in the seventh were all line drives right at Bruins, and in the eighth Tanner Smith drove a flyball to the wall in dead center, after Tyler Ganus had reached on an infield single.
"We did sting some balls, and our bullpen pitched exceptionally well again — put zeros on the board throughout," Wasikowski said. "… We squared five balls up off a reliever, and it didn't end up happening for us."
At the Plate: Hall's home run was his fourth of the season. … Kasevich had two hits, giving him a streak of five straight games with a base hit. … Novitske has driven in at least one run in three of the last four games. … Brennan Milone's two-out double in the sixth got him back on track after his nine-game hitting streak ended Friday.
On The Mound: Oregon's bullpen pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, with Christian Ciuffetelli getting the Ducks out of the fifth-inning jam and pitching into the sixth. Stone Churby followed by striking out two in a scoreless inning, Rio Britton ended the seventh with a strikeout and Logan Mercado pitched a scoreless eighth despite putting runners on second and third with one out.
Up Next: The Ducks and Bruins meet in the series finale Sunday at noon.