UCLA baseball tallies 25 runs in extra-innings comeback triumph over Oregon State
No. 3 seed UCLA baseball redshirt sophomore catcher Tommy Beres swings at a pitch in a game April 16. Beres launched his first career home run Saturday against No. 2 seed Oregon State to give the Bruins a walk-off win. (Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin)
|No. 2 seed Oregon State||22|
|No. 3 seed UCLA||25|
By Jared Tay
May 28, 2022 7:46 p.m.
The Beavers crossed the plate 22 times Saturday. They tallied 28 hits, breaking their all-time hit record. They smacked two home runs and blistered nine doubles.
But when redshirt sophomore catcher Tommy Beres stepped up to the plate in the bottom half of the 10th inning, he found his team tied with the Beavers at 22 runs apiece.
Beres was in the lineup three times in May. He had six career RBIs to his name.
But on a 1-1 count, he saw a pitch from Beaver right-hander Ryan Brown. Beres took a stride, swung and pulled the pitch over the left-field wall. His walk-off, three-run home run gave No. 3 seed UCLA baseball (38-21, 19-11 Pac-12) the 25-22 win over No. 2 seed Oregon State (43-14, 20-10) at the Pac-12 tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona.
When Beres rounded the bases, he was greeted by the entirety of the UCLA dugout. The Bruins swarmed around home plate in celebration of a game that staved off their elimination.
But Beres would not have been given the chance to walk it off had it not been for a ninth inning rally of nearly double-digit runs by the blue and gold.
UCLA entered the bottom of the ninth trailing by nine runs and was one run away from being run-ruled by Oregon State in the top half of the inning. It had three outs to avoid elimination.
The team did it by getting on base any way they could.
The Bruins walked. They were hit by pitches. They poked a single through the middle of the infield and barreled up doubles into the outfield grass. They created a carousel of runners on the bases. When a Bruin scored, another replaced him at first.
Around and around they went, turning the deficit to eight, then seven, then six runs. They did this until they clawed their way back to a one-run deficit, with graduate student designated hitter Kenny Oyama standing 90 feet away as the game’s tying run.
On a chopper fielded by the Beavers’ first baseman, Oyama streaked toward home plate, sliding as the throw from first met him at the same time. The home plate umpire waved his arms.
The call was safe. Oyama tore off his helmet, wheeling away and screaming with elation at his teammates in the dugout along the first-base line.
The comeback was complete.
UCLA had dug itself into a nine-run hole after Oregon State put up runs in all but two innings. Freshman right-hander James Hepp allowed a two-run home run in the first inning, but completed his two-inning outing allowing no more runs.
But the relievers who followed him – many of them fatigued from four consecutive games in the tournament – failed to hold the second most prolific offense in the conference, in terms of runs scored, at bay.
Junior left-handers Josh Hahn and Jake Saum combined for seven earned runs. Senior left-hander Daniel Colwell and redshirt freshman right-hander Chris Aldrich appeared in the middle innings but allowed 10 earned runs.
Before the penultimate frame, the Bruin offense had gone relatively cold after scoring seven runs in the opening two innings. They jumped out to an early 7-2 lead by stringing together singles and walks and chased the Beaver’s usual Sunday starter in right-hander Jake Pfennigs after 0.2 innings.
The 25 runs scored by the blue and gold are tied for its most scored this season. Aside from the Beres home run, the Bruins did not hit another ball over the fence and tallied four doubles.
After playing nearly six hours of baseball, UCLA has earned a rematch with Oregon State later Saturday night.