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UW blown out by UCLA in first game of Pac-12 Tournament

UW blown out by UCLA in first game of Pac-12 Tournament

Washington's infield crowds Kiefer Lord in a pitching change vs. Cal on May 19, 2023 at Husky Stadium. UW lost to UCLA in the first game of the Pac-12 Tournament, 17-4.

Seven surrendered runs in one inning proved to be the final nail in the coffin in a disappointing start to the Washington baseball team’s Pac-12 Tournament run.

UW did not play like the third seed on Wednesday afternoon, as an implosion gifted UCLA 17 hits and just as many runs. A 10-run rule finally ended the onslaught in the seventh inning, and seventh-seed UCLA officially grabbed the 17-4 win.  

A three-and-out for both sides got the action underway in the first inning, and after UW posted the same result in the second, the Bruins (28-24-1, 12-16-1 Pac-12) took advantage with three singles to score the first run of the game. Three more base knocks put UCLA up 4-0, but redshirt junior starter Jared Engman dished out two strikeouts to mitigate the damage.

From there, the Huskies (33-17, 17-12 Pac-12) looked to revamp their offense quickly to counter UCLA’s spree. After two strikeouts from the get-go in the third, freshman Sam DeCarlo walked and sophomore Cam Clayton singled into left-center field. With two runners on, redshirt junior Will Simpson followed suit with a hit to advance Clayton and plate DeCarlo for Washington’s first run. 

From that point on, however, the Bruins’ offensive dominance kept growing, and UW could do little to stop it. Following back-to-back homers from UCLA, freshman Grant Cunningham entered in relief for Washington. Cunningham gave up one more run to give the Bruins a 7-1 lead.

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The Huskies added two more in the fourth after a double from sophomore AJ Guerrero plated one, and an error from the shortstop issued another to shave the deficit to 7-3.

However, the improvements seemed futile after three more runs supplied the Bruins with a 10-4 advantage in the bottom of the frame. A solo home run from junior Coby Morales was the last score of the day for UW, as UCLA barreled through Washington’s pitching staff in the bottom of the fifth to squander any last chance of a comeback. 

The Bruins recorded nine more hits than the Huskies and had stellar pitching to match, recording 13 total strikeouts to Washington’s four.

After losing three games in a row, a win tomorrow is critical for Washington to keep the squad in a stable position to snatch a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies will look to shake off the seemingly contagious low as they face off against USC Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in Scottsdale, Ariz. 

Reach reporter Evie Mason at Twitter: @eviesmason

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