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Oregon State sweeps UCLA baseball to end Bruins’ postseason chances

Coach John Savage walks off the mound after a pitching change. Savage and UCLA baseball have been eliminated from Pac-12 tournament qualification. (Zimo Li/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


UCLA0
No. 7 Oregon State11
UCLA11
No. 7 Oregon State12
UCLA1
No. 7 Oregon State15

By Noah Massey

May 12, 2024 7:12 p.m.

The Pac-12 baseball tournament occurs at the season’s end to grant a team an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Nine of the conference’s 11 programs will vie for entry to the national stage.

UCLA, however, will not be one of them.

UCLA baseball (16-33, 6-21 Pac-12) was swept by No. 7 Oregon State (39-12, 17-9), dropping the final game of the series 15-1 after losing the first two games of the series Friday and Saturday 11-0 and 12-11, respectively. Saturday’s loss mathematically eliminated the Bruins from postseason play.

Friday’s game escaped UCLA’s control early, as a dynamic Oregon State offense took a 7-0 lead by the end of the fourth – homering three times off of junior right-hander Luke Jewett. The Beavers, who are tied for seventh-most home runs in the nation, launched 12 throughout the series, while the Bruins managed to hit just one big fly.

The Bruin offense couldn’t get anything going Friday in response, amassing only six hits – none for extra bases – while striking out 13 times.

Sunday was more of the same.

Oregon State outclassed UCLA from start to finish, scoring 15 runs in six innings, as the game concluded in run-rule fashion. Bruin starter freshman right-hander Luke Rodriguez bore the brunt of the Beaver barrage, allowing seven runs over three innings.

The Bruins’ only chance of entering the win column came Saturday, when they jumped to an early 6-1 lead courtesy of a five-run third inning. Freshman third baseman Roch Cholowsky had the biggest hit of the rally, smashing a 3-0 pitch over the centerfield wall for a grand slam – his seventh homer in eleven games.

But this lead quickly disappeared in the bottom of the same inning, as the Beavers hit two home runs of their own on their way to a seven-run frame off of sophomore right-hander Michael Barnett, who allowed 10 earned runs over his five innings of work.

UCLA starters had no answers for the Oregon State offense the entire weekend, allowing 25 runs – all earned – over 13 innings of work, combining for a 17.31 earned run average.

After falling behind, the Bruins manufactured runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to tie the game up at 10.

Freshman right-hander Justin Lee pitched around three walks to contribute two innings of shutout ball in the sixth and seventh after relieving Barnett. Lee tossed a combined three shutout innings Saturday and Sunday and was the only UCLA pitcher to keep Oregon State scoreless across the weekend.

Following Lee’s removal, graduate student right-hander Rashad Ruff allowed a home run to Beavers left fielder Gavin Turley in the bottom of the eighth, placing the Bruins behind with one final opportunity.

Down to their final out with a man on first, Cholowsky singled, bringing up freshman first baseman Mulivai Levu. Oregon State right-hander Bridger Holmes, who had tallied 12 hit-by-pitches in 24.2 innings prior to the game, allowed old habits to resurface. The closer hit Levu and junior shortstop Cody Schrier to tie the game back up at 11.

But in the bottom of the ninth, the Beavers loaded the bases against Ruff with one down.

After coaxing a 6-2 groundout for the second out, Ruff faltered, allowing a walk-off free pass after a nine-pitch battle to end the game.

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Noah Massey
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