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UCLA evens the series against Oregon State behind a 4 to 1 win

After a hard fought Oregon State 3 to 2 first game win over the 6th ranked UCLA Bruins, the second game of the series saw UCLA even things up behind some solid pitching and lack of Oregon State offense for a 4-1 win.

Pat Casey's Beavers struggle on offense to drop the second game of a key Pac-12 series against the UCLA Bruins
Pat Casey's Beavers struggle on offense to drop the second game of a key Pac-12 series against the UCLA Bruins

The Beavs started with RHP Drew Rasmussen (3-1, 1.91) who lined up against UCLA’s LHP Grant Watson (4-2, 1.76).

The first inning saw center fielder Jeff Hendrix look more aggressive after his off Friday night batting performance, and after a Christian Donahue (second base) strike out, Hendrix laced a single to left field. But first base KJ Harrison served up a perfect double-play ball to close the top of the 1st inning out for the Beavs.

Behind some solid defense, including a Michael Gretler leaping grab at third base, Oregon State was able to fight off one-out and two-out singles that put a UCLA runner in scoring position at third base, to get out of the bottom of the 1st inning without any damage done.

Designated hitter Gabe Clark led off the 2nd inning with a single, which was then followed by shortstop Trever Morrison drawing a walk putting two runners on with no outs. From here Oregon State though can’t capitalize, and the Bruins get out of the inning with another double play delivered up by UCLA’s Grant Watson. OSU’s Rasmussen had a little less eventful second inning, and even with a two-out walk is able to keep things within the infield and makes fairly quick work of the Bruins batters.

Oregon State’s 3rd inning was quick as UCLA was able to get the Beavs to go down 1-2-3. The Bruins though were able to score the first run of the game with a two-out RBI single by Ty Moore, who was then advanced to third base on a Donahue fielding error. Rasmussen and OSU then were able to get out of the inning with only the single run notched against them with a UCLA check swing strikeout.

The Beavs then left Gabe Clark on second after Clark’s two-out double in the 4th inning. UCLA on the other side took advantage of a leadoff single and then a two-out Kevin Kramer shot up the middle scored Darrell Miller Jr. to put the Bruins up 2 to 0. OSU again limits the possible damage after a couple of Kramer steals are nullified on a snow cone twisting foul out to catcher Dane Lund.

The fifth inning saw both teams go down quickly 1-2-3 each. In the 6th inning UCLA’s Grant Watson really settled in striking out the Oregon State side. Watson’s performance in the 6th was then rewarded with UCLA two runs. Christoph Bono’s single (that saw Bono get to second base on a throwing error) scored Miller Jr. This helped contribute to Coach Yeskie making a call to the pen and LHP Mak Fox replaced Drew Rasmussen. Rasmussen went 5 2/3 innings, striking out only one, walked two, and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. Fox’s relief appearance though gave up another run on a Kramer double that scored Bono. The Beavs finally get out of the inning on a nicely dug-out play by first base KJ Harrison, but it was solid "dagger" inning for UCLA as the Bruins went into the 7th inning up 4 to 0.

The Bruins in the 7th inning, with a fairly comfortable lead, go to their own bullpen and RHP Tucker Forbes replaced starter Watson. Grant Watson threw a very solid six inning shut out with six strikeouts, had only one base-on-balls, and gave up three hits. Oregon State finally erased the goose egg on the scoreboard, and another Gabe Clark hit (single) led to the first OSU run with a Kyle Nobach RBI double scoring Clark. UCLA countered with another pitching change and RHP Grant Dyer came into the game with OSU runners on second and third and two outs. Dyer was able to get out of the inning, but only on a solidly hit ball to center field by pinch hitter Billy King.

In the bottom of the 7th inning the Beavs then go to RHP Kevin Flemer who then gets Oregon State to the 8th inning still only behind 4 to 1. The Oregon State batters though could not take any advantage in the next two innings as the final six batters all struck out. UCLA went to their ace closer RHP David Berg to make sure the deal was fully closed, and the Bruins even up the important Pac-12 series. It was a night where the Bruins were able to find the timely hits that scored the needed runs even with leaving nine on base, additionally UCLA made the plays on defense behind some very solid pitching by starter Grant Watson (W 5-2), reliever Grant Dyer, and closer David Berg (S 7). With the win UCLA also snapped a six game losing streak against the Beavers.

OSU just was not able to get the bats going and mustered only five hits, and also were not as sharp in the field with a couple of costly errors. A bright spot was reliever Kevin Flemer’s pitching, and even with some looseness of control at times Flemer was able to chalk up the needed outs on the defensive side at the end of the game for Oregon State. But it was not enough for the OSU bats were cold for most of the game, and completely silent at the end. Starter Drew Rasmussen recorded his second loss of the season to go to 3 and 2. Gabe Clark also went 3 for 4 at the plate for the Beavers.

The loss drops Oregon State to 22-8 overall and 5-3 in the conference standings. UCLA goes to 22-6, and 8-2. The teams will both reset and return to play in the Saturday rubber game at Jackie Robinson Stadium, with first pitch scheduled at 4:05pm.