UCLA Finishes Strong To Put Pepperdine Away, 10-0

UCLA did what Pepperdine couldn't. Catch the ball (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)

When UCLA played Pepperdine in the very first week of the season they used a quick start to take down the Waves. A five-run first inning put the Bruins ahead as the cruised past the Waves, 9-0. Tuesday's contest was very different though. The Bruins and Waves couldn't get anything going for the early part of the game and after five innings the game was scoreless. UCLA turned the heat on from that point on though, with Pepperdine helping them score multiple runs in each of the last four innings to take down Pepperdine, 10-0. The win leaves the Bruins 24-16 on the season heading as they prepare for a trip north for three games with Oregon this weekend.

The Bruins tossed their eighth shutout of the season on Tuesday, the most for any UCLA team since the 1978 Bruins blanked nine opponents. Zack Weiss got the win in the contest for six scoreless innings in which he allowed seven hits and set a new career-high with seven strike outs. The win is the fourth consecutive victory for the freshman as well. He was backed up by Brandon Lodge, who threw two scoreless frames, and Scott Griggs, who polished things off in the ninth.

Ten different Bruins picked up hits on the afternoon with Dean Espy leading the way with three base knocks. He added a run scored to his three hits, while Cody Regis smacked a two-run homer as part of a two run, two RBI effort. Cody Keefer also had a pair of RBI and runs and Jeff Gelalich joined then in the two RBI club as well in a 12 hit Bruin performance.

Weiss spent much of the day battling his way out of trouble. The Waves put men on second and third in the second inning with only one out, but the freshman got a pair of strike outs to get out of the trouble. The third inning saw Pepperdine load the bases, but again he got out of it and in both the fourth and sixth the Waves put two on only for the freshman to get out of the jam with no runs across.

UCLA actually would have gotten on the scoreboard in the third inning if it weren't for spectacular defense. With Gelalich on first, Espy launched a ball deep to left field and it would have falled over the fence for a two-run homer, but Pepperdine's Tony Cooper climbed the fence and brought it back with a stunning homer saving catch.

It looked as if that amazing catch might haunt the Bruins until the sixth when the offense got going. Tyler Heineman led off the frame with a double and an error on Keefer's sacrifice bunt put men on the corners with nobody out. A strike out and botched squeeze bunt put UCLA back in a bad situation with men at first and second, two out, but Gelalich. The sophomore broke the scoreless tie with a double to right center that scored both runners and UCLA had themselves a 2-0 lead.

Both of the Bruins' runs in the sixth were unearned thanks to the error on the bunt, but the Waves had some more gifts left in the seventh. With Espy at second and Regis at first, a throwing error on a grounder by Heineman allowed Espy to score and Regis to take third so there were men on the corners with only one out and a 3-0 UCLA lead. Keefer added to that lead when he double to right, scoring both Regis and Heineman to put the Bruins up 5-0. A Marc Navarro double followed, scoring Keefer and UCLA led 6-0 with each run being unearned.

Just for fun, UCLA added two more unearned runs in the eighth. Beau Amaral reached on an error and then with two outs, Regis hit a two-run inside the park home to right. Three innings prior the game was scoreless and after eight, UCLA led 8-0 without an earned run across.

Finally in the ninth the Bruins scored a run that didn't take a Wave error, although they still came with help. Three consecutive singles by Brenton Allen, Kevin Williams and Adrian Williams loaded the bases so when Brian Carroll walked, a run came in to score. Of course, when Amaral was hit by a pitch next, another urn was in and UCLA had themselves the 10-0 lead that would stand up as the final score.

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