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Despite scoring series win, UCLA baseball fails to complete sweep over UC Davis

Freshman outfielder Jarrod Hocking begins his swing during Sunday’s contest against UC Davis. (Ilan Berdy/Daily Bruin)

By Ava Abrishamchian

April 17, 2023 1:13 p.m.

Sophomore shortstop Cody Schrier slid into second in the bottom of the ninth after a two-out walk.

But despite a series of last-ditch efforts to start a rally, No. 22 UCLA baseball (21-10-1, 8-5-1 Pac-12) fell short in a 6-3 loss to UC Davis (12-19, 3-9 Big West) on Sunday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Clinching the series win after Saturday’s victory, the Bruins couldn’t catch up with the Aggies’ early lead Sunday to secure the series sweep.

Despite a strong performance across the first two games of the series, coach John Savage said he was disappointed in the level of play his team showed in the finale.

“I thought they outplayed us,” Savage said. “From pitch one, I thought they did a better job than we did. Therefore, they win, we lose.”

UCLA struck first in the third inning when a single to left field from junior third baseman Kyle Karros knocked in freshman outfielder Jarrod Hocking. But the Bruins didn’t score again until the seventh when Schrier punched a single into center field and advanced to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a single from Hocking.

Sophomore first baseman Jack Holman followed up the seventh-inning score with an eighth-inning solo home run, but by that point, the Aggies’ 6-2 lead was too large to overcome.

Even with momentum present, Holman said the Bruins failed to capitalize on it.

“We waited a little too long to start to go,” Holman said. “We just had a tough time putting together at-bats one after another, but I think we can definitely do better on passing the baton to one another and keeping the offense going.”

Senior right-hander Kelly Austin picked up the start Sunday afternoon, tossing three scoreless innings before allowing three runs in the fourth and another two in the fifth. The five runs were the most Austin has allowed all season, while his four-inning appearance was the shortest of any start he’s made in 2023.

Despite his overall lackluster pitching performance, Austin said it was the details that cost the Bruins on Sunday.

“We’ve let a couple of balls drop here and there,” Austin said. “Just working to clean up any little mistakes is going to be the biggest thing. We’re working to be detailed.”

With the relief roster in full swing, Austin was pulled in favor of senior left-hander Jake Saum, who struggled to record an out throughout his stretch in the fifth inning. Following Saum, redshirt sophomore right-hander Chris Aldrich, senior right-hander Charles Harrison and freshman right-hander Michael Barnett stepped up to the mound.

Freshman right-hander Cody Delvecchio stopped the bleeding by pitching two scoreless innings to finish the contest, but UCLA’s offense couldn’t respond.

The Bruins struggled in the bottom of the ninth, with senior catcher Darius Perry and junior outfielder JonJon Vaughns striking out to start the frame. Despite Schrier reaching scoring position, Hocking’s flyout to center field ended the Bruins’ hope of a win.

Although they lost Sunday’s game, the Bruins won the series, which Savage said is another building block toward getting better

“You’re going to make mistakes, but at the end of the day, we get back at it on Tuesday,” Savage said. “We got to get tougher, got to make more pitches, got to have better bats. You name it, we have to do a better job of it.”

UCLA returns to Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for a midweek matchup against UC Irvine.

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Ava Abrishamchian
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