Griffin Canning reaches 300 strikeouts, but UCLA baseball drops NCAA opener

Pitcher Griffin Canning became the sixth pitcher in UCLA history to record 300 career strikeouts on Friday, but the Bruins lost 3-2 to Texas in the first round of the NCAA Long Beach Regional. (Photo by Don Liebig/UCLA Athletics)

Despite an outing that put Griffin Canning among the UCLA greats, the Bruins lost a tight 3-2 game to Texas in the first round of the Long Beach Regional on Friday at Blair Field.

Canning had six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings as he became just the sixth UCLA pitcher to reach 300 career strikeouts. The junior has 301 for his career and was the first Bruin to eclipse the mark since Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole finish their careers in 2011.

READ: UCLA loses tight duel to Texas

Two errors in the seventh inning and two-out walk in the eighth cost the Bruins in the close game as the Longhorns scored once in each inning. 

Freshman shortstop Ryan Kreidler hit a solo home run in the eighth inning to answer Texas second baseman Bret Boswell‘s RBI single in the seventh, but the Longhorns came back with an RBI double from Travis Jones in the bottom of the eighth to push the lead back to two runs. Kacy Clemens drove in the game’s first run on a solo homer in the fourth.

The young guns rallied again for the Bruins in the ninth as freshman Jack Stronach drove in fellow freshman Michael Toglia to pull one run back. However, UCLA stranded two runners when Jake Pries popped out.

“We love our young guys and this is another learning, building block they can build off for the future,” UCLA head coach John Savage said. “There’s plenty of tournament left and hopefully they come back tomorrow with that same sort of fight.”

The loss sent UCLA down to the elimination bracket, where it will face the loser between Long Beach State and San Diego State on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Blair Field.