The No. 1 UCLA baseball team lost to Oregon, 8-4, in the second contest of a three-game set Saturday afternoon before 1,320 at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins (26-5, 4-4 Pac-10) dropped their first weekend series of the spring after having won their previous five.
Oregon (23-11, 6-5) received a strong effort from right-hander Justin LaTempa (3-2), who recorded his third victory of the season as the Ducks’ starter. LaTempa limited UCLA to three runs (two earned) and three hits in 6.1 innings, notching three strikeouts and no walks.
Bruins’ right-hander Trevor Bauer (5-2) absorbed the loss, surrendering eight runs (six earned) and 12 hits in seven innings. Bauer recorded five strikeouts and one walk.
The Ducks were led at the plate by center fielder Curtis Raulinitis, who went 2-for-4 with one homer, one triple and a game-high four RBI. Second baseman Danny Pulfer and third baseman J.J. Altobelli each went 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI for Oregon.
UCLA left fielder Cody Keefer went 2-for-3 with a team-high three RBI.
Oregon assumed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out home run by Pulfer. The Ducks claimed a 3-0 advantage with two runs in the second inning. After designated hitter Ryan Hambright reached on a two-out fielding error, Altobelli singled on a bunt. A triple to right field by Raulinaitis scored Hambright and Altobelli.
UCLA got on the board with one run in the bottom of the fifth, reducing Oregon’s lead to 3-1. After reaching on a bunt single and advancing to second on a throwing error, third baseman Dean Espy scored from third base on a sacrifice fly by Keefer.
Oregon extended its advantage to 8-1, scoring four runs in the sixth inning and one more in the seventh. A two-run homer to right field by Raulinitis in the sixth inning pushed the Ducks’ lead to 7-1.
The Bruins scored one pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth and added one in the ninth. In the bottom of the eighth, Keefer singled to right field on a blooper that escaped a diving attempt by Steve Packard to send home second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla. A groundout by center fielder Beau Amaral allowed third baseman Dean Espy to score.
UCLA and Oregon conclude their three-game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Sunday. Game time is 12 p.m. Admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for children (ages 16 and under).
Game Notes: Left-hander Matt Drummond pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and right-hander Brandon Lodge threw a scoreless ninth … UCLA employed an all-freshman outfield for the second time this season (Cody Keefer in left, Beau Amaral in center and Jeff Gelalich in right) … Jeff Gelalich made his fourth start of the spring, his second as the Bruins’ right fielder.