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No. 1 UCLA too much for Arizona baseball in series opener

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

The UCLA Bruins, the No. 1 team in the country, were too much for the Arizona Wildcats Friday night, taking game of the three-game series, 10-5.

Arizona’s offense struck first when Nick Quintana doubled to left center field, scoring left fielder Matthew Dyer and first baseman Austin Wells.

In the eighth inning, when the score was already 10-2, Arizona added three more runs. The first two batters, outfielders Brandon Boissiere and Donta Williams, walked. Then, with one out in the inning, Dyer singled to score Boissiere. Wells, the next batter, singleed in Dyer and Williams. Both runners had moved to scoring position after a wild pitch during Wells’ at-bat.

Arizona’s offense in total Friday was not as powerful as it usually is. Only five Wildcats got hits. Dyer and Wells were the only players with more than one; they each had two. The team only drew four walks with three of them going to batters who didn’t have hits, to put the Wildcats baserunning total at eight.

On the pitching side, Randy Labaut was roughed up by the UCLA offense. He allowed seven runs (all earned) on nine hits in four innings. He also walked four during his 82 pitches thrown.

Labaut’s struggles lasted his entire outing, though he was able to avoid the “big inning”. He allowed a homerun in the first inning followed by an RBI double in the second to tie the game. The third inning featured an RBI single. Labaut’s biggest struggle occurred in the fourth, and, as has happened many times this season, an error extended the inning. After a leadoff single, UCLA right fielder Garret Mitchell doubled to center field, where Donta Williams was unable to cleanly field it, allowing the runner from first to score. A single and double later in the inning was all it took to put the game out of reach for the Wildcats, now down 7-2.

Labaut was helped by UCLA baserunning mistakes during his four innings. Two Bruins, one in the second and fourth each got thrown out trying to advance a base.

Reliever Nate Brown allowed three more runs in the next inning, before he and George Arias combined to pitch a clean three innings to finish the game.

Arizona was missing a major member of the team tonight and will for a portion of the future after center fielder Matt Fraizer broke his hand before this weekend’s series.

The Wildcats will look to steal a game against the top team in the country when the Arizona and UCLA face off in game two Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.