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Bruins in Paris

With 2nd straight loss to Cal, UCLA baseball’s conference record falls under .500

Junior infielder Daylen Reyes follows through on his swing. Reyes was the lone Bruin to record multiple hits in each of Friday’s and Saturday’s losses to the Golden Bears. (Shane Yu/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


California9
UCLA2

By Benjamin Royer

May 7, 2023 10:01 a.m.

Stranded runners came back to bite the Bruins as they stumbled to a second straight defeat against the Golden Bears.

UCLA baseball (24-18-1, 10-11-1 Pac-12) placed multiple runners on base in four different innings during its conference clash with California (20-23, 8-15). On another day, inning-ending flyouts from power threats in juniors third baseman Kyle Karros and outfielder JonJon Vaughns could have soared over Jackie Robinson Stadium’s left field wall.

But on Saturday, they died at the warning track, and a few feet kept the Bruins off the board, sending them back to the clubhouse with a 9-2 loss and a third consecutive Pac-12 series defeat. UCLA fell under .500 in conference play for the first time since losing the conference opener against Oregon.

“We had some good at-bats, and we had some runners in scoring position where we didn’t cash in,” said coach John Savage. “I really liked the atmosphere in the ballpark, and unfortunately, we just didn’t do enough to win.”

Cal starting pitcher Paulshawn Pasqualotto shut down the Bruins’ bats with five scoreless innings before handing the ball off to the Golden Bears’ bullpen, which only conceded two runs.

Junior infielder Daylen Reyes smacked a seventh-inning RBI single and sophomore first baseman Jack Holman connected with a fastball for an eighth-inning solo home run. However, neither of the late runs – which cut the team’s deficit to two – helped complete a comeback.

And just like Friday, Cal added insurance runs to separate from UCLA.

The Golden Bears hit three home runs off freshman right-hander Cody Delvecchio in the ninth and added another two runs off senior left-hander Jake Saum after the former’s removal.

Savage said his bullpen has to emerge and get outs to stay within striking distance despite its injuries.

“We’re missing a lot of guys,” Savage said. “So it is what it is. Guys (have) got to step up and make pitches.”

Seven runs ended up being the margin between the Pac-12 foes, but UCLA received more of the same from its Saturday starter.

Despite allowing four early runs, senior right-hander Kelly Austin provided the Bruins ample opportunities to jump back into the contest.

“What can you say about Kelly Austin, right?” Savage said. “The guy is just a complete warrior. He pitched his butt off.”

The junior-college product pushed through career highs of 7.1 innings and 117 pitches, striking out six batters and finishing his outing with 4.1 scoreless frames.

Austin said he’s focused on flipping the script midgame and being able to adjust to improve his outings.

“This Cal team has been playing really competitively against us,” Austin said. “They came out, punched us hard, (in the) second, punched us in the third, and we just know that we got to make adjustments in order to turn around.”

The Orange County local has morphed into multiple roles for the Bruins’ pitching staff in 2023. Savage has called on Austin to start, relieve and then move back into the weekend rotation after sophomore right-hander Alonzo Tredwell suffered potential season-ending back and rib injuries.

Savage said Austin’s rhythm on the mound allowed him to stay in the contest.

“The guy’s getting stronger as the game goes along,” Savage said. “I mean, literally getting stronger. So you don’t want to take a guy out. That’s his game, you know? It’s fun to watch and been fun to be a part of.”

The Bruins will turn their attention to the series finale against the Golden Bears on Sunday at noon before switching their focus to Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State to close out action at Jackie Robinson Stadium in 2023.

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Benjamin Royer | Alumnus
Royer was the 2023-2024 Assistant Sports editor on the baseball, gymnastics and men's water polo beats and a reporter on the football beat. He was also a staff writer on the baseball, football and gymnastics beats in 2022-2023. He studied communication and graduated in 2024.
Royer was the 2023-2024 Assistant Sports editor on the baseball, gymnastics and men's water polo beats and a reporter on the football beat. He was also a staff writer on the baseball, football and gymnastics beats in 2022-2023. He studied communication and graduated in 2024.
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