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UCLA Baseball Shut Down By Oregon State's Jake Pfennigs, Drops Series Finale

The Bruins were unable to close out the sweep thanks to the Beavers' Sunday starter, while their own pitchers were chased off the mound one-by-one.

The series win had already been clinched, but the Bruins were unable to wrap up the sweep in Corvallis on Saturday.

No. 23 UCLA baseball (35-20, 19-11 Pac-12) fell to No. 2 Oregon State (41-13, 20-10) on the road by a score of 9-3 in the regular season finale, locking the Bruins into the No. 3 seed in the inaugural Pac-12 tournament. The result comes after two upset wins by UCLA on Thursday and Friday when they were able to get the upper hand at the plate and on the mound, but the same could not be said for Saturday afternoon's contest.

Beavers starter Jake Pfennigs, who had served mostly as an opener since returning from a two-month injury hiatus in April, pitched into the seventh inning and held UCLA's bats mostly silent.

Pfennigs got through the first inning in 13 pitches, and although he allowed a single to sophomore third baseman Kyle Karros, a double to sophomore designated hitter Daylen Reyes and a sac fly to junior catcher Darius Perry in the second, he still held onto the lead his offense had handed him the previous frame.

UCLA wouldn't score another run with Pfennigs on the mound, as he retired 14 of the next 17 batters who stepped up to the plate. In that stretch, only one Bruin made it to second and the ball got out of the infield just three times.

Pfennigs slowed down after picking up the first out of the sixth, walking Reyes and Perry on back-to-back at-bats. That marked the end of his outing, and both Bruins came around to score on RBI singles by sophomore center fielder Carson Yates and graduate first baseman Jake Palmer later in the inning.

Still, Pfennigs had the longest outing of his season – both in terms of innings pitched and pitches thrown – and his ERA on the year now sits at 1.63. Before he was charged the final two earned runs given up by his bullpen, Pfennigs had gone 6.1 innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and one walk.

Pfennig's counterpart, redshirt sophomore UCLA starter Kelly Austin, got attacked right off the bat.

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Austin entered Saturday having allowed just two earned runs in 9.1 innings across his previous two starts, but it took all of five at-bats for him to match that against Oregon State's lineup. Left fielder Wade Meckler and center fielder Justin Boyd each had RBI singles in the first inning to make it 2-0 Beavers, giving their team a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

A 1-2-3 second inning seemed to get Austin back on track, but he walked Meckler and gave up a two-run home run to right fielder Jacob Melton in the third. Austin pitched into the fifth without allowing another run, and he successfully passed things off to junior left-hander Josh Hahn to get to the sixth still only trailing by three.

Oregon State broke things open in the sixth, though, with Hahn allowing a walk, double and single before getting yanked in favor of redshirt freshman right-hander Chris Aldrich. UCLA's second reliever of the day didn't fare much better, as Aldrich immediately threw a wild pitch that cost him a run before allowing a three-run home run to first baseman Garrett Forrester.

The Beavers' lead had ballooned from three to eight as a result of the five-spot, and although freshman right-hander Luke Jewett and senior left-hander Daniel Colwell held them off the board for the rest of the day, it was already past the point of no return for the Bruins.

Junior right fielder Michael Curialle was the only UCLA batter with multiple hits, but he did not drive in a run or cross home plate himself.

Even with the loss, though, UCLA managed to close the regular season with a series victory. The two wins earlier in the weekend helped the Bruins climb nearly 20 spots in the RPI rankings, and they'll have more chances to improve on their standing at the Pac-12 tournament starting Wednesday evening in Scottsdale.

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