UCLA baseball gets swept for 1st time since 2018 with loss to Washington
Then-No. 8 UCLA baseball watches from the dugout in a game April 16. The Bruins were swept in a series for the first time since 2018 over the weekend at the hands of Washington in Seattle. (Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin)
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By Jay Fenn
May 9, 2022 4:38 p.m.
For the first time since 2018, the Bruins have been swept.
One week after sweeping Arizona State and catapulting into the top 10, then-No. 8 UCLA baseball (30-17, 14-10 Pac-12) dropped all three of its games to Washington (21-24, 11-16) in Seattle over the weekend. After Friday night’s contest was postponed because of rain, the Bruins fell in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader by scores of 7-1 and 5-4 and were then defeated in walk-off fashion Sunday.
Sophomore Max Rajcic took the mound for UCLA in game one of the doubleheader, but after one week of going 8.1 innings against Arizona State and striking out 11 batters – both career highs – the right-hander did not see the same success. The reigning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week went seven innings while giving up six earned runs on nine hits – both season highs.
The blue and gold’s bats tallied four hits in the contest, all four of which came off the bats of graduate students left fielder Kenny Oyama and first baseman Jake Palmer.
Despite injuries to the team’s starting rotation mounting, Palmer said the offense is not feeling any extra pressure to produce.
“We didn’t really piece together innings, and we didn’t win as many pitches as we should have offensively,” Palmer said. “We’ve got to get back to what we were doing.”
In game two of the doubleheader, UCLA threw six different pitchers, with none going longer than 2.2 innings. Freshman left-hander Ethan Flanagan started the game for the Bruins and conceded four runs before the bullpen took over and finished the final 5.1 innings, giving up one run.
Palmer said with injuries also plaguing the pitching staff, it was good to see different players making an impact.
“The pitchers who have stepped in have done a really good job,” Palmer said.
Offensively, the Bruins tallied eight hits and four runs, but they could not overcome the Huskies on their home field. Sophomore center fielder Carson Yates made his first start of the series and tallied three hits and one RBI to lead UCLA at the plate Saturday evening.
On Sunday, with the chance to take the series finale, the Bruins got off to an early lead thanks to Palmer and freshman shortstop Cody Schrier. Schrier drove the first pitch of the game out of the ballpark before Palmer sent his second home run of the year over the right-field wall.
Palmer said it was good to get on the board early after losing both games the day prior.
“We always want to come out aggressive and get some sort of offense going,” Palmer said. “It was nice that it was the first few batters of the game, but really, we’re just trying to get the offense going anyway we can.”
UCLA took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth behind freshman right-hander Alonzo Tredwell, who had gone 2.2 shutout innings up to the final frame. However, Washington strung together a pair of two-out RBI hits to walk off the blue and gold.
The Bruins ended the weekend scoring eight runs across the series, one week after scoring 42 in a series against Arizona State and combining for a .355/.449/.527 slash line as a team. Schrier – the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week – finished the series 1-of-14 at the plate.
Palmer said the Bruins won’t be too hard on themselves after the series and will continue to push forward.
“I don’t think this team really rides too much of an emotional roller coaster one way or the other,” Palmer said. “This weekend didn’t go how we liked, but we still have a lot of baseball ahead of us.”
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