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Cal Eliminated from Pac-12 Baseball Tournament With 10-Inning Loss

UCLA beats Golden Bears in extra innings to end Cal's season

Cal's season is over after losing to UCLA 9-7 in 10 innings in an elimination game of the Pac-12 baseball tournament Friday night in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The sixth-seeded Bears (29-27) took a 7-5 lead into the eighth inning, but the third-seeded Bruins (37-21) scored twice in the top of the eighth to tie, then scored two more in the top of the 10th to take the lead.  When Cal failed to score in the bottom of the 10th, the Bears' had their second loss in the double-elimination tournament.

The Bears, who had been a hot team offensively heading into the conference tournament, failed to score a run in the final six innings of the game.

The four teams remaining in the conference tournament -- Oregon State, Stanford, Arizona and UCLA -- all were expected to get a berth in the NCAA tournament regardless of how they fared in the Pac-12 tournament.

But Cal needed to win the conference tournament to get into the NCAA event, and that chance is gone. Cal won its conference opener against UCLA 4-1, but lost its second game to Oregon State 3-1 and lost another close game Friday in its second encounter with the Bruins in the tournament.

Cal freshman Rodney Green Jr. went 3-for-5 and hit the ball hard in every at-bat, and Hance Smith had a two-run homer in the first inning for the Bears.  But the Bruins negated both in the top of the 10th when Ethan Gourson smacked an RBI single off Cal reliever Sam Stoutenborough to give UCLA an 8-7 lead, and Kyle Karros followed with a run-scoring single to give the Bruins a two-run lead that held up.

Cal began the game with a surprise.

The Bears' Matt Lozovoy had pitched only one inning all season before getting the start in Friday's must-win game. He was a junior-college transfer from the College of Marin and did not become eligible to play for the Golden Bears  until the spring term at Cal  had been completed.

So he became eligible in mid-May, and Cal head coach Mike Neu decided to take a chance and start him against the Bruins.

He did all right, giving up two runs in the three innings he pitched, but getting out of trouble every inning. Cal held a 3-2 lead when he was replaced by Mitchell Scott to start the fourth inning.

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Cal had taken the lead in the bottom of the first inning when Smith hit a two-run homer, and after UCLA scored a run in the top of the second to cut the Cal lead to 2-1, the Golden Bears increased its lead to 3-1 on an RBI groundout by Nathan Manning.

Cal still held a 3-2 lead when Scott took the mound to start the fourth, but he did not last one inning. A two-run triple by Gourson was the big hit in the three-run inning that put the Bruins ahead for the first time at 5-3. Scott was lifted with two outs in the fourth.

Cal regained the lead by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth, when the Bears sent 10 batters to the plate. Errors on consecutive batters with the bases loaded accounted for Cal's first two runs of the inning, and a third run scored when Nathan Martorella walked with the bases loaded. A Dylan Beavers single plated the final run of the inning, giving Cal a 7-5 lead.

UCLA tied the game with two runs in the top of the eighth, and followed with the winning runs in the 10th.

The Bruins now must beat Oregon State twice on Saturday to earn a berth in Sunday's title game against whichever team survives the other division -- Stanford or Arizona.

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Cover photo of Hance Smith's first-inning homer

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.Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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