Baseball drops 2-1 decision at UC Irvine

IRVINE -- For only the third time all season, the UCLA baseball team dropped a road game Tuesday night.

UCLA head coach John Savage was not there to see the end of it.

The sixth-year coach was ejected in the bottom of the fifth inning immediately after UC Irvine's Jeff Cusick doubled to give the Anteaters the two go-ahead runs in an eventual 2-1 win at Anteater Ballpark. Earlier in the inning, Savage disputed a blooper that first base umpire Bradley Hungerford ruled had hit the ground before center fielder Beau Amaral made the catch.

“I thought it was a catch," Savage said afterward. "It was a difference in opinion and I expressed my thoughts. After the two-run double, I said something I shouldn’t have said.”

Hungerford ejected Savage right after Cusick's game-winning double -- though it was unclear because Hungerford began to jog toward center while Savage chased after him. Savage eventually retreated back into the first base dugout to gather his belongings and was set to exit down the right field line but was told he had to leave from the other side.

Here's a condensed version of the sequence:

Before then, UCLA had struggled to string productive at-bats.

“It was disappointing," Savage said. "We just didn’t get good swings.”

The night looked promising after the Bruins (34-11) got on the board in the first on a run-producing bouncer from Tyler Rahmatulla. But UCLA collected four hits -- all singles -- and was held in check by Irvine relievers Nick Hoover and Evan Brock (combined 7 2/3 innings, two hits, no runs and seven strikeouts).

UCLA starter Garett Claypool (7-2) absorbed his second loss of the season despite giving up only two runs in six innings.

"We should have given a better offensive effort," said Blair Dunlap, who scored UCLA's run in the first.