Baseball's hope to host regional takes hit

Everything that could have gone wrong nearly did for the UCLA baseball team over the weekend.

If not for a 5-2 win Sunday against Oregon State, the Bruins might have been out for the count in the heated Pac-10 race. Ace pitcher and No. 1 draft prospect Gerrit Cole blew a 5-1 lead Friday night and the Bruins were no-hit by Josh Osich Saturday afternoon. Under those circumstances, Sunday's finale was as close to a "must-win" as you'll get in late April.

The Bruins (23-16, 11-7 Pac-10) salvaged a game and trail Oregon State (32-9, 12-3) by four games in the loss column with nine conference games remaining. They are tied with California for third place, two games back of second-place Arizona State.

UCLA did bag a crucial midweek victory against UC Irvine last Tuesday which, in retrospect, softened the blow Oregon State dealt to the Bruins' hopes of hosting a regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium for the second straight year. The Bruins fell two spots in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 coaches' poll, from 20th to 22nd. There is still room for movement, though -- the Bruins have three games with eighth-ranked Arizona State, one against 11th-ranked Cal State Fullerton, one against 19th-ranked Irvine and three against 25th-ranked Cal left on their schedule.