Tyler Heineman continued his hot hitting on Saturday in Salt Lake City (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
Two games up in Salt Lake City, two wins. The UCLA offense continues to pound the ball and because of that, even when the pitching isn't outstanding the Bruins continue to pick up wins. That was the case on Saturday afternoon when UCLA defeated Utah 9-6 to improve to 19-5 overall and 6-2 in the Pac-12, scoring at least nine runs for the fourth time in five games and winning their sixth consecutive series.
The top of the Bruin order did the bulk of the damage, again, with Tyler Heineman leading the way on Saturday. The junior went 3-3 in the contest, scored three times and added a couple RBI, while Trevor Brown did his past with three RBI. Cody Regis still struggled to get hits, putting up another hitless game, but he drew three walks and scored twice. Jeff Gelalich continued to be the man in the middle of the otder that every one is scared of, drawing two walks as he continues his streak of reaching base safely in every game this season.
Nick Vander Tuig picked up the win for UCLA, tossing 5.2 innings of four-run ball, although on three of those were earned. He only struck out one, but he did not give up any home runs after being victimized by them in his last two starts. David Berg worked an inning of relief, giving up a solo home run and Zack Weiss gave up a run in 0.2 innings of relief. Ryan Deeter retired a batter and Scott Griggs picked up his sixth save in 1.1 innings of work.
The Bruins got off to a quick start, loading the bases in the first for Brown, whose sacrifice fly scored a run. They also loaded the bases in the second inning, but couldn't cash it in.
A pair of Utah singles in the third put the UCLA lead under threat and with two outs, a double erased the lead when a Ute came around to score. The Bruins and Utes were all even again, tied at 1-1.
UCLA reclaimed the lead a half inning last when they put together a two-out rally. Kevin Williams singled then caused some havoc with his legs, stealing second and taking third on a wild pitch. Beau Amaral then plated him with a single before his base stealing threat drew a balk, allowing him to score easily on Heineman's double.
Trailing 3-1, Utah tried to answer quickly and got off to a good start in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff double. That paid off when Regis made a two-out error, allowing the man to score from second.
The sixth and seventh innings is where UCLA did the bulk of their damage. Regis led off the sixth with a walk scored on an error. Then with Heineman and Cody Keefer in scoring position, Brown singled to plate the pair and the Bruins held a 6-2 lead.
Utah gave UCLA a real scare in the sixth when a trio of Utah singles plated two runs, but the Bruins answered right back. Heineman and Keefer each added RBI singles of their own and UCLA was comfortably up, 8-4.
A lead off home run in the seventh cut the UCLA lead to 8-5 and a run in the eighth made it 8-6, but Amaral drove a run in in the ninth and the Bruins were on their way to another series win.