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Arizona baseball drops second straight at UCLA as late rally falls short

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Arizona headed to Los Angeles with a 9-game win streak. It will go into Sunday’s series finale trying to get swept.

The Wildcats (12-5, 3-2 Pac-12) fell 7-5 at UCLA on Saturday afternoon, their second consecutive loss. And like Friday’s 5-1 defeat to the Bruins, one big inning did them in.

Down 3-0 halfway through, UCLA (14-3, 3-2) scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth. The damage began against UA starter Bradon Zastrow, who had allowed only two baserunners through the first four before the first three batters reached in the fifth.

Zastrow left with two on and 1 out, and still leading 3-2, before Dawson Netz allowed a 3-run home run to UCLA’s Carson Yates to make it 5-3. It was the first run allowed this season by Netz, who ended up giving up two runs in three hits one-third of an inning.

Arizona scored first in the top of the third, on a 3-run homer from Nik McClaughry, and Garen Caulfield led off the sixth with a solo shot to get within 6-4. UCLA added a run in the bottom of the sixth, and it stayed 7-4 until the Wildcats tried to rally in the ninth.

Cameron LaLiberte singled home McClaughry with two out to cut the deficit to two, but Caulfield flew out to right on the next pitch to end it. Arizona left 10 runners on base for the second game in a row.

Right-hander Aiden May is scheduled to start for Arizona in Sunday’s 1 p.m. PT finale. A loss would make it two consecutive Pac-12 road series sweeps for the Wildcats’ opponents, as Oregon swept the UA to end the regular season last May.