Trevor Brown is en fuego (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
If only UCLA could move all of their postseason games to Tuesdays. The Bruins took down UC Irvine, 6-2, on Tuesday night at Anteater Ballpark, giving them a perfect 11-0 record on Tuesdays for the season and putting them in a great position to earn a national seed in Monday's Selection Show. Now it just comes down to this weekend, in which 39-14 UCLA should only need a series win over lowly USC to secure home field for not just the Regionals, but also the Super Regionals should they advance that far.
Once again, Trevor Brown led the way for UCLA. The junior has been on fire of late and continued his hot hitting against the Anteaters with two hits, three RBI and two runs scored. Pat Valaika had a successful return from injury with two hits and two RBI, as did Tyler Heineman, who had two hits and a run scored.
Grant Watson picked up his team-best ninth win on the evening with six inning of one run ball. The freshman allowed just five hits and while he only struck out one, he only walked one. Madison Poole threw an efficient one-two-three inning on just seven pitches and David Berg set a UCLA single-season record with his 40th appearance. The freshman worked one inning before Zack Ortiz gave up a run in the ninth, but still sealed up the win without much fuss.
As was the vase last weekend against Cal, UCLA jumped out to an early lead. Heineman singled and Keefer singled to put two on with two outs for Brown, who roped a double down the left field line to score the two. Valaika followed with a base hit of his own to score Brown and before the Anteaters had even picked up the bats, the Bruins led 3-0.
Watson cruised through the first two innings, but made one mistake to Chris Rabago in the third and paid for it. Rabago got a hold of an 0-1 pitch and launched it out to left for a leadoff home run that cut the UCLA lead to 3-1. Men also got into scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but Watson worked out of it each time.
UCLA weren't leaving men in scoring position like Irvine because they weren't getting anyone on base, but when they finally did in the seventh they capitalized. Brian Carroll pinch hit and reached on an error, then took second. That paid off when Beau Amaral singled with two outs to score him and extend the Bruins' lead to 4-1.
An inning later, the Bruins put the game to bed. Cody Keefer singled to bring up Brown with two outs in the eighth and once again, Brown came through. He went the other way this time for his second double of the game to score Keefer and add a run to the UCLA lead. Valaika followed with his second RBI single of the evening and UCLA were up 6-1.
After Poole's easy seventh, Berg had a pretty easy eighth to bring on Ortiz for the ninth. The freshman got himself into trouble with two outs when he walked a pair and gave up a double, but that only plated one as the Bruins finished off a perfect Tuesday season.