The UC Riverside baseball team lost 5-4 against Cal Baptist University in which the Highlanders found themselves trying to climb back on top throughout the whole game. Going into this, UCR had a 13-game losing streak and were trying to end the season on a high note. However, a disappointing loss in the first of a four-game series with CBU adds to a forgettable season.
Left fielder Cole Pofek got things started for the Highlanders in the bottom of the first inning, as he hit a triple down center field. However, UCR was unable to capitalize on the triple as a flyout and strikeout ended the inning. In the top of the second inning, CBU landed themselves onto the scoreboard first, as an error from third baseman Nathan Webb allowed the Lancers to get their first run of the game.
In the top of the third inning, Cal Baptist went on a scoring flurry, which started with a single into right field by designated hitter Chad Castillo. A foul out to first baseman, which turned into a sacrifice flyout, allowed the Lancers to go up 3-0. Moments later, a single into right field from center fielder Nick Plaia allowed another CBU run, which put them up 4-0.
In what seemed like a disastrous turn of events for the Highlanders, UCR rallied in the bottom of the fourth inning to get themselves back into the ball game. Designated hitter Dylan Orick got things started with a triple into left center field and put the Highlanders in a great position to score. Unlike the first inning, UC Riverside was able to capitalize on this opportunity, as a single from shortstop Anthony Mata saw the Highlanders get their first run of the game. Moments later, a single up the middle from right fielder Jacob Shanks added another run for UCR and made the score 4-2. Later, a base hit up the middle from center fielder Travis Bohall cut the Highlander deficit to only one run, 4-3. A flyout from Pofek ended what was a momentous inning for UC Riverside.
As the game started to near its end, chances for the Highlanders to tie or take the lead became scarce. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Highlanders occupied first and third base, putting them in a great opportunity to tie the game. However, a flyout from Webb ended the inning, and UCR missed out on a crucial chance to score. In the top of the eighth inning, CBU iced the game with a single down the right side from Castillo, which put the Lancers up 5-3 on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Highlanders had one final chance to comeback from their deficit. A double into center field from Webb gave some life for UCR. A sacrifice flyout from second baseman Ely Stuart inched the Highlanders closer, 5-4. With all eyes on Mata to keep the comeback alive, Mata was struck out swinging, and the game ended with a final score of 5-4 in a Highlander loss.
Pitcher Zach Jacobs in 9.0 innings pitched had a 4.00 ERA and seven strikeouts. Bohall led the way for the Highlanders with three hits and an RBI while Webb chipped in with a run and two hits, which included one double.
The Highlanders won one of the two double-header games on Friday, which ended a 15-game losing streak. UCR will play their final regular season game on Saturday, May 29 against Cal Baptist University at 1:00 p.m.