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UCLA baseball ekes out 10th inning win over Oregon in 2nd game of series

Freshman infielder Roch Cholowsky gets ready to swing at Jackie Robinson Stadium. (Aidan Sun/Daily Bruin)

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By Mika McCaffrey

April 7, 2024 10:34 a.m.

The Jackie Robinson Stadium crowd erupted in support of graduate student Quintt Landis.

The ball was never put in play by the Bruins’ backup catcher. But the Pepperdine transfer didn’t have to, either.

With the bases loaded, the game tied, count full and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Landis took ball four for a walk-off walk. The game-winner cemented UCLA baseball’s (12-16, 5-9 Pac-12) Saturday night, 4-3, victory over Oregon (21-8, 7-3) in the second game of the series, setting up a Sunday rubber match.

“It was a hard-fought win against a very good team, very hot team,” said coach John Savage. “They’re tough, and they got a really good offense, experienced guys, not an easy lineup to navigate.”

With an abundance of injuries to their pitching staff, the Bruins struggled to hold the Ducks on Friday, giving up eight runs and ultimately losing the contest. However, the reverse occurred to knot the series at one.

Savage said the team’s pitching strategy shifted between the two games, with right-handers freshman Luke Rodriguez and graduate student Rashad Ruff combining for seven strikeouts over 4.2 scoreless frames to end the contest.

“Whenever you’re up or even, you’re going to go to your best bullpen,” Savage said. “When you’re down, and it’s Friday night, sometimes you go to some other guys. … The strategy is to win the series.”

Sophomore right-hander Michael Barnett began the game by tossing 5.1 innings and giving up only three hits but still allowing three runs – two of which were earned.

“It was a really good team win,” Barnett said. “I think the pitching staff passed the baton well. The guys that came out after me were very connected.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bruins rallied for four runs on just five hits, aided in part by seven walks.

Freshman infielder Roch Cholowsky – who hit an RBI double in the third – said the team adapted to remedy its problem with leaving runners on in scoring position.

“Our biggest thing that we’ve been struggling with all year is hitting with guys in scoring position and guys on base,” Cholowsky said. “We had a little talk with our hitting coach, coach Ward (assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Bryant Ward), kind of about switching our approach because what we’ve been doing obviously isn’t working.”

Despite their victory, the Bruins are still dealing with increasing injury problems with much of their bullpen and their usual starting junior shortstop Cody Schrier injured.

“We need Cody back, and we’d like to get a couple arms back,” Savage said. “It’s been really tough, … but they persevered. I thought they competed tonight; their effort level was the right level.”

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