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Lack of control from Arizona pitchers leads to 3rd straight loss at UCLA

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From an overall standpoint, Arizona’s pitching has looked better so far this season than it did in 2023. But this weekend saw some regression from the Wildcats’ arms, particularly when it came to allowing free baserunners, and the results were not good.

The Wildcats lost 6-2 at UCLA on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, getting swept on the road by the Bruins after opening Pac-12 play with a home sweep of Cal.

Seven pitchers combined to allow six walks and two hit batters for Arizona (12-6, 3-3) and also threw four wild pitches. Two of the free passes came in to score for UCLA (15-3, 5-1) while the go-ahead run in the sixth was on base after a dropped third strike.

For the weekend, UA pitchers issued 13 walks, hit four Bruins and had seven wild pitches.

For the third game in a row, Arizona scored first, going up 1-0 in the top of the first on a 2-out RBI single by Kiko Romero. UCLA tied it in the fourth before Mac Bingham had an RBI single in the fifth for a 2-1 lead.

Bingham was 3 for 5 out of the leadoff spot.

The Bruins tied the game in the fifth, chasing UA right-hander Aiden May, who lasted 4.1 innings and marked the third straight starter not to make it out of the fifth. The sixth saw UCLA’s first two batters strike out, the second against freshman righty Casey Hintz, but catcher Cameron LaLiberte let the ball get past him on the strikeout and the runner got to first.

A wild pitch moved him into scoring position, then with two out a double down the left field line scored the winning run.

UCLA added two in the seventh and one in the eighth but left 13 on base. Arizona stranded 11, including the bases loaded with one out in the seventh when Chase Davis and Romero struck out in a 3-2 game.

Davis hit a 2-run home run in the ninth, his seventh homer of the season, and Romero followed with a 1-out double to bring the tying run to the plate in the final inning for the third game. But LaLiberte was jammed on a pop out and Garen Caulfield grounded out.

The Wildcats, who stranded 31 runners in the series, return home Tuesday to host Utah Tech at 6 p.m. PT before visiting ASU next weekend.