Tuesday nights, are really all non-conference play, has been UCLA's domain in 2012. They're undefeated in midweek contests and after Tuesday night's trip to Blair Field, they have won 15 consecutive non-conference contests. It wasn't an easy finish for the Bruins to keep that undefeated streak alive, though. The tying and winning runs were in scoring position with just one out in the ninth, but UCLA held on to beat Long Beach St., 2-1.
Grant Watson registered his team-leading eighth win with six innings of shutout ball. The freshman scattered two hits and allowed just three men to reach base to improve to 5-0 in midweek starts this season. David Berg made his 28th appearance on the season with a perfect inning of work and Ryan Deeter allowed an unearned run in the eighth before handing the ball to Scott Griggs. The closer had some struggles, walking two, but he held on to pick up his 10th save of the season.
The pitching had to be fantastic on Tuesday night because the offense didn't do much to help them out. Trevor Brown had a pair of hits and both RBI to lead the offense, but the rest of the team combined for just three hits. Beau Amaral, Jeff Gelalich and Kevin Kramer did all add walks to their hits, though, as each reached base twice.
UCLA has chances to score in each of the first two innings, but they couldn't capitalize either team. Cody Keefer and Gelalich each reached in the first to put a man in scoring position, but Brown flied out to end the frame. Kramer singled in the second and advanced to second, but he was picked off and again the Bruins came up empty.
Luckily for the Bruins, the men they left on base didn't hurt them in the early going because Watson was so good. He didn't allow a Dirtbag to reach base until the fourth inning and by then, UCLA had already scored.
Gellaich was hit by a pitch with one out in the fourth inning, bringing up Brown. The Bruins' leading RBI man got up 2-0 on the count, then sitting on a fastball, he laced the pitch to left center for a double. With Gelalich's speed, he was able to come around from first to score on the play and the Bruins had themselves a lead.
Neither team showed much of an offense and it looked like UCLA's lone run might be enough to win the game, but they were sure happy to add another in the eighth. Amaral walked to lead off the inning and Heineman followed with a walk of his own. The Bruins almost ran themselves out of the inning when Amaral was thrown out trying to steal second, but with two out and Heineman standing on second, Brown singled to score Heineman and UCLA lead, 2-0.
That second run proved to be key when Long Beach St. scored in the bottom half of the inning. A single, ground out and passed ball pushed a Dirtbag to third base with just one out so a fly ball was enough for a run to score.
Leading by just a run, UCLA sent Griggs out for the ninth inning and he nearly gave Bruin fans a heart attack. He walked the first two batters of the inning, but luckily for the Bruins, Long Beach St. had their next man bunt without even forcing Griggs to throw a strike. Still, the tying and winning runs were in scoring positon with just one out. Things got more tense when Griggs went the distance with the next batter, but he got the strikeout swinging on the 3-2 count for out number two. Griggs then punched out the next batter and the Bruins had themselves another midweek win.