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UCLA Baseball Knocked Out of Pac-12 Tournament, Oregon State Hits Vengeful Walk-Off

A nine-run comeback earlier in the day wasn't enough to get the Bruins to the conference championship game, as they blew a late lead themselves to end the night.

The Bruins were the beneficiaries of some walk-off magic early Saturday evening, but they were on the opposite end of the spectrum a few hours later in Scottsdale.

No. 3 seed UCLA baseball (38-22, 19-11 Pac-12) lost 8-7 to No. 2 seed Oregon State (44-14, 20-10) in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals, getting knocked out of the double-elimination bracket in the process. The Bruins were fresh off a nine-run comeback in the ninth inning of the first game of the day against the Beavers, culminating in a walk-off home run in extra-innings, a pattern that reversed itself in round two.

UCLA did stage another comeback in the deciding game, coming from three down to take the lead with a four-run seventh. The usual suspects – junior right fielder Michael Curialle and sophomore third baseman Kyle Karros – got the ball rolling that inning, only for freshman designated hitter Jack Holman to deliver the go-ahead RBI single despite hitting below .200 on the season.

Having already burned through 10 pitchers between the two games, coach John Savage turned to senior infielder Jake Moberg to come in for the seventh, tasking the position player with protecting the newfound lead. Moberg didn't exactly pitch the cleanest inning – walking one man on four pitches, beaning another batter and tossing a wild pitch to the backstop – but he did strike out the first man he faced on three pitches and escape from the seventh unscathed.

The Beavers got the last laugh, though, converting on the Bruins' first error of the day on a botched infield fly to tie things up again in the ninth and eventually walking off themselves with a game-ending single down the left field line.

The back-and-forth, two-leg battle battle between UCLA and Oregon State featured 62 runs, 79 hits, 55 runners left of base and 875 pitches only for the Beavers to emerge victorious and clinch a spot in the championship game versus top-seeded Stanford.

The Bruins' pitching picked up right where it let off earlier in the day, as sophomore right-hander Caedon Kottinger drew the start having only thrown 1.0 inning in his entire collegiate career. Kottinger gave up five-straight singles, and the Beavers had posted four runs before the righty even recorded a second out.

Senior right-hander Jack Filby didn't allow a hit in the second after coming in for Kottinger, but two walks and a sac fly helped Oregon State extend their early lead to five.

UCLA finally got its first hit of the game in the third, and suddenly it became their turn to convert a string of singles in runs. Curialle and freshman shortstop Ethan Gourson each picked up RBIs to keep the Bruins within striking distance, even if the offense was hitless again in the fourth and scoreless in the fifth.

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Another pair of singles led to a sac fly for Oregon State that got one of those runs back, only for UCLA to score on a near-inning-ending double-play ball the very next frame.

The Bruins were getting doubled up through six, but it could have been far worse if not for freshman right-hander Luke Jewett tossing four innings of one-run ball. The freshman got through the middle chunk of the game by forcing an equal number of groundouts, fly outs and strikeouts, and he ultimately set UCLA up for its second-biggest comeback of the day.

The four-spot in the seventh vaulted the Bruins ahead of the Beavers, and Moberg held that advantage steady on the mound before Savage turned back to a traditional pitcher.

Redshirt sophomore right-hander Kelly Austin, who drew the start in UCLA's elimination game against Cal just one day earlier, forced a foul out from the first man he faced before striking out two and successfully dancing around the two runners who made it on base.

Austin trotted back out for the ninth with no additional insurance in his back pocket, looking to close out the six-out save. The Beavers led things off with an infield single for their first hit since the fifth inning, getting the tying run aboard and bringing the winning run to the plate.

After striking out the next man up, Oregon State blooped a double into left that sent the lead runner to third. Austin got exactly what he needed the next at-bat, inducing a pop-up in the infield, but graduate first baseman Jake Palmer and sophomore second baseman Daylen Reyes bumped into each other and let it drop as the tying run scored.

As the Beavers celebrated their own walk-off victory, Reyes stayed put between first and second base, frozen after nearly 11-straight hours of high-stakes baseball.

The Bruins will have to wait until Monday's NCAA tournament selection show to see if, when or where their postseason will continue.

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