Jeff Gelalich hit his team-leading seventh home run of the year (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
Sometimes a team has to be really good to get a win. Tuesday was not one of those times for UCLA, who simply had to watch Pepperdine boot the ball time and time again to take down the Waves. Pepperdine made five errors on Tuesday afternoon, helping UCLA come from behind to grab a 6-2 win in Malibu and improve to 32-13 on the season.
It took five errors for UCLA to get to five runs, but it wasn't as if they weren't hitting the ball anyways. They tallied 13 hits, led by Trevor Brown and Tyler Heineman's three each. Heineman also aded two runs and a RBI, while Brown drove in one. Jeff Gellaich has two hits, two RBI and a run on the day, including a mammoth home run in the ninth inning that pushed his team-leading total to seven.
Grant Watson wasn't able to pick up a team-best ninth win, but he was solid in 5.2 innings, striking out four, walking none and sllowing just two runs on six hits. Eric Jaffe got one out and David Berg worked a scoreless seventh inning in his Pac-12 leading 32nd appearance this season. Ryan Deeter worked the eighth and despite walking two and hitting one, Scott Griggs did manage to get out of the ninth without a run scored to seal up the Bruin victory.
A two-out double in the first inning gave Pepperdine the first chance to score, but Watson worked out of that jam. A two-out single in the third couldn't derail him either as he kept the Waves off the scoreboard in the first three frames.
Pepperdine's shoddy defense finally netted UCLA a run in the fourth inning. After leading off with a single, Heineman was able to take second on a passed ball, which proved to be huge. With two outs, Brown singled to left, allowing Heineman to race around and score the game's first run.
The UCLA lead would only last until the bottom half of the inning, though. A single leadoff single was cashed in immediately as the very next pitch was roped into left center for a RBI double. A single then scored another run and Pepperdine had grabbed a 2-1 lead.
It looked like the Waves might extend their lead in the sixth when they picked up a one-out double, but a groundout followed. Then after Jaffe entered and walked a man to put runners on the corners, he got a groundout to end the inning with no one across, a lost opportunity that the Waves would regret before long, but not as much as they would regret their errors.
The first errors of the seventh inning came with one out when the rightfielder misplayed a sinking liner. That error was worth two bases as Kevin Kramer went all the way to third on his single. A two-out wild pitch them scored Kramer and the Bruins were even, but the Waves weren't done handing out gifts. Beau Amaral singled then went to third on another two-base error, this time on a failed pickoff so Heineman's singled scored him easily to give UCLA a 3-2 lead. An error then allowed Cody Keefer to reach and Heineman to advance to second so when Gelalich singled, Heineman was able to score as another unearned run stretched the UCLA lead to 4-2.
The Bruins didn't need help to score in the eighth. Pat Valaika led off the frame with a single and Shane Zeile followed with a single of his own. After a sacrifice bunt by Kramer, Matt Giovinazzo lifted a fly ball to right field, which allowed Valaika to tag and score for another run.
Berg and Deeter had no real problems in the seventh or eighth and Gelalich gave Griggs even more breathing room in the ninth when he launched a mammoth home run over the scoreboard in right. Leading 6-2, the Bruins held their breath as Griggs loaded the bases on two walks and a hit by pitch, bringing back nightmares of Sunday's ninth inning collapse. Valaika then saved Griggs and the Bruins when he made a sensational stop at shortstop and threw to third for the final out, although he got some help from the umpire who gave him the out when the runner appeared to be safe. No matter, because UCLA had gotten the win and were back on track.