Skip to main content

UCLA Baseball Stays Alive in Pac-12 Tournament, Knocks Out Washington

The Bruins needed to fend off a Huskies comeback and pull ahead late in order to move on in the double-elimination bracket.

Despite the lack of rest, the Bruins' bats didn't show any signs of exhaustion Thursday afternoon.

No. 3 seed UCLA baseball (36-21, 19-11 Pac-12), coming off a first round loss that didn't wrap up until nearly 1:30 a.m. the night before, powered its way to a 14-8 win over No. 7 seed Washington (30-26, 14-16) in the second elimination game of the inaugural Pac-12 tournament. The mere 11-and-a-half hours between games proved to be just enough time for the Bruins to figure things out at the plate, breaking double-digit runs for the tenth time this season after scoring one run and going 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position Wednesday.

All 10 UCLA hitters who had a plate appearance got on board in one way or another, and eight of them had hits. The meat of the Bruins' lineup did a lot of the heavy lifting, as the No. 3 through 5 hitters combined to go 12-for-17 with eight runs and seven RBIs

Sophomore third baseman Kyle Karros anchored UCLA's offense, going 5-for-5 with four RBIs after finishing 3-for-3 the night prior. Karros came into the postseason batting .263 on the year – including a .146 average in his final 12 regular season appearances – but he bumped that mark all the way up to .305 after Thursday.

However, it was Washington that got on the board first thanks to a sac bunt and sac fly in the opening inning, and freshman left-hander Ethan Flanagan got charged for two more earned runs on a home run by right fielder Coby Morales in the second.

Flanagan wound up pitching with a lead his next few times out on the mound, though, as UCLA's offense put together a few big innings to pull ahead.

Sophomore center fielder Carson Yates drove in Karros on a single in the second, then Karros drove in two the very next inning. Freshman shortstop Ethan Gourson added an RBI single of his own in the third, and the three-spot helped the Bruins take their first lead of the tournament.

Junior right fielder Michael Curialle went for an RBI double in the fifth, and Karros drove in both Curialle and Gourson two at-bats later to make it 6-3.

After retiring the first two batters of the fifth, Flanagan gave up a double to center fielder Cole Miller. Shortstop Cam Clayton followed that up with a single through the right side, but Curialle gunned Miller down at the plate to end the inning and keep the deficit at three.

The play went under review, though, and after a long discussion and several replays, junior catcher Darius Perry got called for obstruction and the original call was overturned. Not only was Miller ruled safe, but second baseman Josh Urps immediately followed that up with a two-run home run to tie the game at 6-6.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

That marked the end of the day for Flanagan, who was not longer in line for the win despite being an inch away from tossing a third-straight scoreless frame and keeping his team up by multiple runs.

The Bruins seemed to be sliding, striking out and grounding out to open the next inning, but sophomore second baseman Daylen Reyes doubled down the left field line to get things back on track. Curialle made up for not getting the outfield assist the prior frame by driving Reyes in and putting UCLA back on top 7-6.

Redshirt sophomore right-hander Kelly Austin followed that up with a scoreless sixth inning, setting the Bruins up to take an even larger lead in the seventh.

Karros led things off with his fourth hit of the day, then sophomore center fielder Carson Yates and graduate left fielder Kenny Oyama got on base via walk and hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Junior Josh Hahn came in to pinch hit, and he hit an opposite field double to left that scored Karros and Yates. Hahn and Oyama scored on a single by graduate first baseman Jake Palmer, and the Bruins went up 11-6.

Austin got chased off the mound in the bottom half of the inning after allowing a leadoff home run and a single, but freshman right-hander Alonzo Tredwell came in and forced a double play and line out to limit the damage.

UCLA broke it open once again in the eighth, with the first five batters all reaching safely. Karros and Yates each picked up additional RBI singles – Yates' coming on a pop up that the shortstop and left fielder lost in the sun – and Oyama added another with a sac fly to left.

Washington tried staging a seven-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth, but could only scrape across one on a leadoff inside-the-park homer by third baseman Michael Snyder – the second the Bruins have given up in as many days.

UCLA will play the winner of Thursday night's game between No. 2 seed Oregon State and No .6 seed Cal in another elimination game Friday night. The Bruins lost to the Golden Bears in the first round of the tournament late Wednesday night, but took two out of three on the road against the Beavers to end the regular season.

Follow Connon on Twitter at @SamConnon
Follow All Bruins on Twitter at @SI_AllBruins
Like All Bruins on Facebook at @SI.AllBruins
Subscribe to All Bruins on YouTube

Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins on Sports Illustrated
Read more UCLA baseball stories: UCLA Baseball on Sports Illustrated