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Baseball keeps Washington State from series sweep

After dropping two decisions to Washington State on Friday and Saturday, the UCLA baseball team resolved to reevaluate its strategy.

“We had a meeting yesterday and talked about playing … with a different mentality,” senior first baseman Cody Decker said. “We needed to take better swings and not be as tentative at the plate.”

The Bruins (11-17, 5-4 Pac-10) proceeded to deny the Cougars (12-13, 4-2) the series sweep in Pullman, Wash., defeating Washington State 9-5 in the series-ending game on Sunday afternoon.

The Bruins’ offense kicked into high gear in the fourth inning, scoring five runs ““ four with two outs ““ on four singles. After the frame, the Bruins led 7-0.

The Cougars retaliated in the bottom of the inning, knocking two doubles and a single to bring home three runs. But outside that inning, freshman right-hander Trevor Bauer would only allow one more hit: a double in the bottom of the sixth.

UCLA’s offensive prowess was further highlighted by Decker’s performance at the plate, as he belted his second home run in as many days.

In terms of pitching, it was a solid weekend overall for the freshman starters on the mound. Bauer recorded his third win of the season for the Bruins on Sunday, tallying seven strikeouts without granting any walks to the Cougar batsmen in 6 and 2/3 innings of work.

Freshman right-hander Gerrit Cole also delivered a strong performance on Friday evening, registering eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He retired the first 12 batters he faced and allowed just one base runner in the first 19 batters he faced.

Though the Bruins lost 7-2 in Friday’s game, Decker said Cole accomplished what he was sent to the mound to accomplish as the Friday-night starter.

“Cole is our Friday-night guy, and he’s pitching like he’s our Friday guy,” Decker said. “He’s tough and mentally prepared, and the same goes for Bauer.”

Saturday, the Bruins were edged out 4-3, despite another solid pitching outing, this time by junior right-hander Charles Brewer. The offensive came from Decker and Alex Weber-Shapiro, as both batters contributed solo home runs.

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