California comeback; UCLA surges late to defeat Cougar baseball

Heartbreak afflicted the Washington State Cougars on Sunday afternoon as they dropped the third game of their series against UCLA.

The Bruins scored five runs in the final three innings, including two in the bottom of the 10th, as they vanquished the Cougars 8-7. 

The rally started in the bottom of the eighth inning when the Bruins got two runners on base with two outs. Freshman pitcher Ian Hamilton entered to stop the threat, but instead, the game quickly turned sour. Hamilton walked the first batter he faced to load the bases and then surrendered an RBI single to senior center fielder Brian Carroll to bring in the first run. 

Then UCLA redshirt sophomore right fielder Christoph Bono stepped to the plate with the bases still loaded and promptly hit a 2-run double on an 0-1 count to tie the score at 6-6. Hamilton did get Bruins junior catcher Shane Zeile to hit a line drive to third to end the inning, but the Cougars did not answer until the top of the 10th inning. 

Junior second baseman Ian Sagdal led off the 10th with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice by sophomore first baseman Patrick McGrath. Senior pitcher Jason Monda pinch-hit for redshirt junior shortstop Trace Tam Sing, who was 1 for 4 on the day, and singled up the middle to score Sagdal. WSU proceeded to load the bases, but with two outs, redshirt sophomore third baseman Nick Tanielu hit a pop-up to first base to squash any hopes of further scoring. 

UCLA capitalized on their chance in the bottom half of the inning. Hamilton stayed in to pitch and gave up a leadoff single to redshirt senior third baseman Aaron Weimer and hit Carroll with a pitch on a full count. A sacrifice bunt by Bono moved the runners over to second and third with one out and ended Hamilton’s day on the mound. 

Junior reliever Sean Hartnett stepped in to hold the Bruins but could not do so. After intentionally walking Zeile, who was 4 for 5 already on the day, sophomore left fielder Ty Moore singled to right field to bring in the two runs needed to win the game. 

The loss pushed the Cougars down to 9-11 and also spoiled a strong start from junior pitcher Tanner Chleborad, who threw six innings of three-run ball. Hamilton took the loss, which brought his record to 2-2. 

Despite faltering late in the game, the Cougars jumped on the board early against UCLA sophomore starter Cody Poteet. WSU scored twice in the first on a double from redshirt sophomore Ben Roberts and three more times in a big third inning. 

After sophomore center fielder Trek Stemp struck out to begin the inning, the Cougars followed with four consecutive singles, including one by junior catcher P.J. Jones that delivered the inning’s first run. Poteet was replaced by freshman pitcher Grant Dyer, who walked Sagdal to bring in another run. WSU freshman Wes Leow hit for sophomore first baseman Matt Mendenhall and grounded out to shortstop to bring in the third run. 

UCLA finally put a dent into the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Chleborad’s shutout was spoiled when Williams unloaded on a 0-1 pitch, sending it over the wall in right field for a three-run home run. Chleborad got the final two outs of the inning and was chased in the seventh after giving up a leadoff single. 

The Cougars play a single game on the road against Cal State Northridge today at 2 p.m., before returning home for an 11-game home stand.