Cal baseball swept by UCLA

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Ethan Epstein/File

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The Cal baseball team opened the weekend of spring break like many, traveling to the beautiful city of Los Angeles. But the Bears didn’t travel down south for relaxation, instead making the trip to continue Pac-12 competition by facing UCLA.

The Bears entered the series knowing they had plenty to prove, especially after losing two of three last week in their Pac-12 opener to Oregon. In the end they failed to deliver, losing three straight games to UCLA, and one in horrific fashion.

Jared Horn returned to the mound for game one against the Bruins in replace of Tanner Dodson, and was looking to rebound from a lackluster performance last Saturday against the Ducks. He was removed from the game in the third inning after allowing six runs and three hits in 2.1 innings of work. His defense did little to help, with four of these runs coming unearned due to errors.

But he entered this road game determined to rebound and did just that. He showed his accuracy early on in the game, striking out two batters in the first inning. And the rest of his teammates helped him out by producing hits at the plate. In the top of the fourth, the Bears were able to produce four runs, especially thanks to RBI hits from freshman Andrew Vaughn and sophomore Dodson.

Horn was eventually pulled in the bottom of the fifth inning with the Bears up 4-0. The rest of the bullpen, however, wasn’t able to hold on to the lead. A series of three Cal pitchers would go onto give up nine runs, eventually handing Cal a 9-5 loss. The most crucial hit came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when UCLA freshman Kyle Cuellar broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run double.

Frustrations for the Bears only continued in game two. The Bears were able to find success early on once again, taking a 4-0 lead thanks to a pair of two run home runs from Vaughn. In the end, though, the Bruins were once again able to catch up and take the lead.

Cal’s bullpen failed to hold on to yet another lead, with three of UCLA’s runs coming in the bottom of the seventh inning. UCLA’s Cuellar broke another 4-4 tie after hitting an RBI single off Cal pitcher Rogelio Reyes. The Bruins hitters would continue to produce at the plate and lead the team to a 9-4 victory that clinched the overall series.

The worst performance of the weekend, however, came in game three. The Bears barely produced any offense, and instead struggled heavily on defense by committing a season-high seven errors in the game.

One of the worst errors of the day came in the bottom of the eighth, when Cal’s second baseman allowed two Bruins to score after dropping a routine fly ball.

UCLA had its best performance of the season by scoring 20 runs against Cal off of 17 hits. On the mound, it was starting pitcher Jon Olsen that dominated for seven straight innings, only allowing three hits and no earned runs. All of this would result in a humiliating 20-0 loss that sent the Bears packing.

“We played pretty disappointing overall, we blew four run leads in the first two games and played poorly Sunday,” said Cal head coach David Esquer.

Cal will have little time to shake this off, as the Bears will return home Monday night to compete against Cal State Long Beach.

“We need to turn it around tomorrow against Long Beach, but it’ll be tough since their coming off a series sweep over Fullerton,” Esquer said.

Alex Quintana covers baseball. Contact him at [email protected].

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