UCLA baseball (28-24) allowed 10 runs in the fourth inning en route to a 12-4 loss to UC Irvine (21-32) on Tuesday night.
Senior Moises Ceja made the start, spelling sophomore Justin Hooper, who will be available out of the bullpen this weekend.
Ceja fired three scoreless innings before starting the fourth with a walk and a two-run homer. Freshman reliever Ryan Garcia entered the game and fired 12 straight balls to load the bases for Keston Hiura, the Anteaters’ projected first-round pick.
Hiura laced a two-run single to right center, knocking Garcia out of the game. Redshirt sophomore Matt Walker and sophomore Brian Gadsby finished out the inning, giving up a combined three singles, one double and two walks during Irvine’s double-digit frame.
The Bruins held an early lead prior to the fourth. Freshman shortstop Ryan Kreidler pulled a solo homer on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the third.
UCLA scored the remainder of its runs in the top of the ninth. Freshman second baseman Chase Strumpf and sophomore pinch hitter Jake Pries started the three-run rally with back-to-back doubles.
Pries scored on a sacrifice fly by redshirt sophomore left fielder Zander Clarke, with the Bruins’ fourth run of the game coming home due to a throwing error after the play.
UC Irvine entered the matchup with an RPI ranking of 164, meaning that this loss is especially harmful to UCLA’s RPI ranking – which was at 51 before Tuesday’s contest.
The Bruins have one more chance to make their case to the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee: a three-game set against Oregon starting Thursday.
Coach John Savage was unavailable for comment following Tuesday’s game.