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Snapping home win streak, UCLA baseball tallies extra-inning loss to Washington

Freshman right-hander Michael Barnett delivers a pitch. Barnett tossed 5.2 hitless innings in Saturday’s contest against Washington. (Felicia Keller/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


Washington3
No. 7 UCLA0

By Anthony Aroyan

March 26, 2023 11:40 a.m.

Under the bright lights and bitter winds of Jackie Robinson Stadium, UCLA engaged in a war of attrition against Washington.

The result was an extra-innings defeat and the Bruins’ first home loss of the season.

No. 7 UCLA baseball (16-4, 6-2 Pac-12) fell against Washington (15-6, 3-2) by a score of 3-0 on Saturday in a game that saw no runs scored through the first nine frames. The defeat marks the end of the Bruins’ 13-game home winning streak and their second shutout loss of the season.

Freshman right-hander Michael Barnett earned the starting nod from coach John Savage on Saturday, as the usual mid-week starter was called on to fill in for sophomore right-hander Alonzo Tredwell, who is out with an injury.

In his 5.2 innings on the mound, Barnett allowed no hits alongside three strikeouts and two walks. Both walks led to successful double plays for the Bruins, maintaining Barnett’s clean sheet.

“This game really showed my growth, like my mentality and my performance,” Barnett said. “I just stick with my pitch and trust coach Savage’s pitch calls.”

Barnett’s no-hit outing in his first weekend start was another encouraging step in his development, according to Savage.

“He gave us exactly what we wanted and more,” Savage said. “He’s growing up in front of our eyes. He’s getting a lot of experience.”

A recent injury to junior third baseman Kyle Karros – who leads the team with 28 hits – has led to a reshuffling of the blue and gold’s lineup on both sides of the ball, with sophomore center fielder Malakhi Knight emerging as the team’s new leadoff hitter.

UCLA’s new-look lineup had trouble getting runners home to start the contest. In the first inning, the blue and gold had the bases loaded with two outs, but a ground out allowed Washington to exit the inning unscathed.

Savage expressed some frustrations over the team’s no-run outing, crediting Washington’s pitching performances.

“It’s the Pac-12, and there’s challenges throughout the year,” Savage said. “It’s clearly hard to win when you don’t score. Their left-hander pitched really well, and their bullpen was good.”

Much of the game was marked by stiff defense from both teams, as the Bruins and Huskies each made crucial catches in the outfield and strung together plays in the infield. All the while, the bats for both teams remained relatively quiet up until the seventh inning.

Aside from Barnett, Savage also looked to freshman right-hander Cody Delvecchio. Coming into the game in the seventh inning with runners on first and second, Delvecchio secured two strikeouts to hold the Huskies scoreless. The right-hander remained on the mound until the ninth inning.

“I was just trying to help the team out one pitch at a time,” Delvecchio said. “Coach has always said I’ve established myself throwing strikes. I’m just throwing it down the zone, getting contact and sometimes strikeouts.”

With the game scoreless heading into the bottom of the bottom of the ninth, the Bruins had a chance to finish the Huskies and secure a series win.

With two outs on the board, a deep fly ball off the bat of sophomore first baseman Jack Holman found the glove of a Huskies outfielder, sending the blue and gold into extra innings for the first time this season.

Washington batters were able to expose gaps on the left side to put men on base, ultimately scoring three runs on four singles, a double and a fielder’s choice.

The Bruins were unable to respond in the bottom half, failing to score a run for the second time this season.

Despite the loss, Delvecchio said the the team is confident in its ability to close out the series.

“We were talking in the clubhouse like, ‘Hey, they think they got us tomorrow (Sunday),'” Delvecchio said. “But they don’t.”

UCLA will look to win the series against Washington with the rubber match Sunday at noon.

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