Graham Osman had an outing to forgot. After Arizona State coach Tracy Smith turned to Osman for the eighth inning, UCLA’s lineup found life.
Despite facing seven batters, Osman only recorded one out. The Bruins put together a five-run frame behind three free passes, two singles and a three-run blast from Mikey Perez.
UCLA (34-18, 17-12 Pac-12) didn’t give the lead back in its 8-5 win over Arizona State (32-19, 16-13) on Friday.
“Unfortunately he didn’t have it tonight,” Smith said. “We have limited options and we felt like he was our best option.”
The Arizona State offense didn’t have the long ball, but still provided a lead for the pitching staff.
Taking advantage of an early UCLA mistake, back-to-back singles from Ethan Long, and Hunter Jump netted a run in the first inning with a throwing error from Bruin left fielder Kevin Kendall.
Joe Lampe drove in another run on a single after three straight Sun Devils reached base to open the second inning. However, UCLA starter Sean Mullen limited the damage. Despite moving the runners over on a bunt, Mullen earned two key strikeouts to get out of the jam.
Following the Bruins scoring two runs on a pair of two-out doubles in the third, Arizona State had its own punch back. A sacrifice fly brought in a run in the third and Jump doubled to create the 4-3 lead that the Sun Devils eventually lost in the eighth.
UCLA’s rally also spoiled another quality start from Justin Fall. The lefty went 5.2 innings, surrendering three runs on four hits. He managed to work around five walks and escaped jams, except on the doubles from Matt McLain and Michael Curialle in the third.
Arizona State finishes its regular season on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. local time. At the end of the day, the identity of the squad is no secret. The Sun Devils will be a postseason team and have an offense good enough to win games.
“Losing sucks. It’s disappointing.” Smith said. “The hay’s in the barn at this point. This team is what it is: it’s a scrappy group that going to grind on the bats and find a way to get it done on the mound.”