Grant Watson picked up the win as his offense backed him up early (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
UCLA came into Tuesday night's game against Long Beach St. hoping to maintain their momentum and that's exactly what they did. The Bruins had defeated Baylor on Saturday and Sunday to win the series and keep the all-important momentum on their side then on Tuesday they put up five runs in the first inning and were off. They were everything that Long Beach St. wasn't, flashing good defense, a gritty offense and good pitching to cruise past the Dirtbags, 9-1, at Jackie Robinson Stadium for a third consecutive win that pushes their record to 5-3 on the year.
Before the Bruins even made an out in the third inning, all nine starters had already reached base at least once. By the end of the game Beau Amaral, Cody Keefer, Jeff Gelalich and Trevor Brown each had two hits, with Brown's pair making it five consecutive games in which the junior has picked up multiple hits. In addition, Gelalich, Keefer and Tyler Heineman extended their streaks of reaching base in every game this season. Gelalich didn't stop there with a team-leading three runs scored and Pat Gallagher led the team with three RBI as the Bruins pounded out 12 hits, while also taking advantage of three Dirtbag errors.
At the same time, the Bruin pitchers weren't too bad themselves as six pitchers combined to surrender just two hits all game. It started with Grant Watson, who went a predetermined four innings. The freshman allowed just one run on run hit to pick up the win and improve his record to 2-0 on the year. Chase Brewer gave up one hit in a scoreless frame then Shane Zeile, David Berg, Ryan Deeter and Scott Griggs each worked a hitless, scoreless inning of their own to wrap things up.
It was all UCLA from the start, albeit with some help from the Long Beach St. defense. Amaral led things off with a single before a Keefer double and Gelalich walk loaded up the bases. That's when Brown lifted one to right, which should have been a sacrifice fly, but it was dropped and a run was across with the bases still loaded. Cody Regis followed with a walk to make it 2-0 before another run came across on another error. Gallagher followed it up with another run-scoring walk before a Kevin Williams single scored one more and the Bruins held a 5-0 lead after just one inning.
The second inning looked a lot like the first as a Gelalich single, dropped fly ball off the bat of Brown and single by Pat Valaika loaded the bases again. A Gallagher infield single then scored not just Gelalich from third, but Brown from second as he came racing around the bases to catch the Dirtbags napping.
Leading 7-0, UCLA added another run to their lead with more hustle base running. Amaral started the frame with a single and Heineman followed with a single. With one out, Gelalich bunted and the Dirtbags forced Heineman out at second, but Amaral busted his tail to come around from second to score on the play and it was 8-0 Bruins.
Long Beach St. finally got on the board with two outs in the fourth when a single scored a run, but the Bruins were never really threatened. Watson went his predetermined four innings and the bullpen teamed up for an inning each to shut down the Dirtbags. An extra run on a Matt Giovinazzo sacrifice fly helped too and UCLA was well on their way to a third consecutive win.