The Bruins could not hang on to a lead Saturday afternoon.
No. 12 UCLA baseball (5-1) fell to Baylor (3-2) after blowing a pair of two-run leads at Jackie Robinson Stadium, 8-6. The loss was the Bruins’ first of the 2018 season after winning five consecutive contests to start the year.
Junior Jon Olsen took the mound for UCLA in his second start of the season after throwing 7 innings of shutout ball against Portland last week. He opened the game with a strikeout, but surrendered a two-out single, followed by a two-run home run by Baylor’s third baseman Davis Wendzel.
However, junior outfielder Daniel Amaral opened up the bottom half of the inning with a lead-off home run to cut the early deficit in half. After back-to-back walks issued to sophomore infielders Michael Toglia and Kyle Cuellar, sophomore outfielder Jeremy Ydens tripled them home with shot off the base of the left field wall.
In the second inning, Olsen threw another 26 pitches to up his total pitch count to 50, but did not allow any runs. UCLA then added a fourth run on a Toglia sac fly to right, driving home sophomore catcher Will McInerny, who singled earlier in the frame.
With two outs in the top of the third, the Bears evened the score at four after a two-out, two-RBI double from Andy Thomas. Those were the final runs of the day given up by Olsen, who finished with 5 2/3 innings pitched, five strikeouts and four walks.
Sophomore infielder Ryan Kreidler gave the Bruins their second two-run lead of the afternoon with the help of a throwing error from Baylor right fielder Davion Downey, who overthrew the cut off man allowing a second run to score on a sacrifice fly.
Coach John Savage went to freshman right-hand pitcher Chase Farrell to preserve a one-run lead in the eighth, but before he could record an out, Baylor’s outfielder Cole Haring tied the game with a home run over the left-center field fence.
UCLA had an opportunity to put Baylor away in the bottom of the eighth after loading the bases with just one out, but junior outfielder Jake Pries struck out after pinch hitting for Cuellar. Sophomore infielder Chase Strumpf, the hero against Pepperdine on Tuesday, ended the inning with a hard lineout to left.
The Bears rode the momentum into the top of the ninth, in which they chased sophomore Kyle Mora off the bump after getting a man on. Savage then turned to junior Brian Gadsby to get out of the inning, but he instantly surrendered a two-run home run to Shea Langeliers to put Baylor ahead 8-6.
Baylor right-hand pitcher Troy Montemayor retired the Bruins in order in the bottom of the ninth, recording the save.
The two schools will face off in a rubber match Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.