Cody Keefer and crew went to Athens and came away with three wins against a top 10 Georgia team (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
UCLA came into this weekend having won seven straight, but they had a home-heavy schedule. There were plenty of questions about how good this Bruin squad was and some thought they would get exposed in their three games over the weekend when they visited #9 Georgia. Now, those questions have been answered and those doubters are looking foolish because the Bruins took down the Bulldogs, 7-3, on Sunday to finish up a series sweep of Georgia for their 10th consecutive win that pushes their record to 12-3 on the season.
Once again, Jeff Gelalich was fantastic for the Bruins at the plate. The junior scored a run and picked up two more hits to make him 9-for-13 on the weekend. Cody Keefer added three hits of his own, drove in a pair and scored one, but it was a complete team effort for the Bruins at the plate. Eight of the nine Bruin starters picked up a hit and either a run or RBI to total 12 hits in the ballgame against a Georgia staff that has been outstanding before this weekend.
Thankfully for UCLA, the Bulldogs were not particularly good at the plate. They did their best to gift the Bulldogs runs, walking nine and hitting another, but they still managed to hold the Bulldogs to just three runs. Zack Weiss was the biggest freebie culprit, walking give and hitting one in his three innings of work, but he got out of the game with just one run across. Chase Brewer worked 1.1 innings of relief after Weiss, allowing just one run to pick up the win. He was the start of a five-man UCLA relief crew that limited the Bulldogs to just two runs in six innings of relief. David Berg went 2.2 innings of one-run ball, Ryan Deeter and Grant Watson combined for an inning and Scott Griggs wrapped things up by striking out the side in the ninth.
UCLA went in front in the second inning and never gave the lead back and it was thanks to Georgia showing a complete inability to find the plate. Gelalich started the frame with a base hit and a pair of wild pitches moved him to third before Trevor Brown walked. After an out, Pat Valaika singled to score Gelalich and the Bruins were in front. After a hit by pitch loaded the bases, Kevin Williams walked to force a run in, then Beau Amaral was hit by a pitch to bring in another run and UCLA was up 3-0.
The second inning was also when Weiss started struggling to find the plate. He walked two and hit a man to load the bases with nobody out before a sacrifice fly scored a run. Weiss was fortunate when he got a double play to end the inning with just one across, but his wildness wasn't going to go away.
A pair of walks in the third inning helped Georgia load the bases again, but this time Weiss got out of the inning without a run across. When he walked the lead off man in the fourth, his day was done. John Savage brought on Brewer and once again the Bulldogs loaded the bases, but once again they could not score and UCLA's 3-1 lead was intact.
Georgia loaded the bases once again in the fifth inning, but this time they got a run across. After two reached with one out in the inning, Brewer exited and Berg came on only to allow a single to the first man he faced to load up the bags. A ground out followed and scored a run, but then the freshman got the third out of the inning to keep the Bruins in front.
After the second inning, UCLA failed to put a man in scoring position again until the seventh, but when they finally got something going, they turned it into a couple runs. Kevin Kramer led off the frame with a single and a one-out walk by Amaral put two men on so when Tyler Heineman singled to right, Kramer was able to come around and score. Keefer followed that up with a single of his own, this one scoring Amaral and the Bruins had stretched their lead out to 5-2 at the seventh inning stretch.
Georgia came back with a run in the bottom half of the seventh, but the Bruins answered that, plus another run in the ninth to give them a comfortable edge. Amaral singled to lead off the frame and a Keefer double scored him before Keefer moved to third then scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-3 Bruins.
With a four-run lead, Griggs entered in the ninth without much pressure and although he invited some with a single and walk in the frame, he struck out three to end the game and complete the sweep in Athens.
With 10 consecutive games in the win column, the Bruins are riding high and they will look to add to that total on Tuesday when they take on USC at Dodger Stadium. First pitch is at 6:30 and tickets can be purchased here.