By Daniel Hill
The Baylor Bears lost 4-3 in the first game of a three-game weekend series to UCLA on Friday night.
Senior right-handed pitcher Max Garner started on the mound for the Bears. In the top of the first inning, Garner got off to a quick start by getting UCLA’s leadoff hitter Eric Filia to groundout to second and by striking out Kevin Kramer. UCLA utilized clutch two-out hitting to start generating offense. Shortstop Pat Valaika roped a double down the left field line. Designated hitter Cody Regis singled to center to score Valaika from second to give UCLA a 1-0 lead.
The Bears answered UCLA’s top of the first inning run with a run of their own in the bottom of the first. The bases were loaded for senior third basemen Cal Towey. Towey hit a high-skying sacrifice fly to left field to allow freshman outfielder Adam Toth to score Baylor’s first run of the night.
In the top of the third inning, Garner beaned UCLA third basemen Kevin Kramer to allow him to take his base. Baylor catcher Nate Goodwin allowed a past ball which let Kramer advance to second. Regis grounded out to first base and Kramer made it safely to third base. Bruin Catcher Shane Zeile singled to left and Kramer scored to give UCLA a 2-1 lead.
Zeile once again helped UCLA extend its lead in the top of the sixth when Zeile drew a walk from junior right-handed pitcher Josh Michalec. With the free pass, Zeile stole second base and then scored when UCLA centerfeidler Brian Carroll singled up the middle into center field.
In the top of the seventh, UCLA right fielder Eric Filia drew another walk. UCLA worked the base path to advance Filia to second after two fielders choice defensive plays from Baylor. Baylor brought in left-handed pitcher Crayton Bare and off of a wild pitch, UCLA was able to score another run.
In the bottom of the seventh, pinch hitter Brett Doe hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score shortstop Jake Miller to cut the deficit to two runs, 4-2.
The game was set up for a Baylor walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth when the bases were loaded for Towey. Towey worked the count full and drew a walk to score Toth.
With the bases still loaded, first basemen Wes Mercurio hit a weak dribbler up the middle, almost like a swinging bunt that was fielded by the catcher and Mercurio was thrown out at first to end the game.
UCLA squeaked by Baylor, 4-3. Right-handed pitcher Adam Plutko was UCLA’s winning pitcher. These two teams face off again Saturday at 3:05 p.m. for game two of the series.