When you win 14 straight midweek games, it is probably going to take some luck and help to pick up a few of those victories. This Tuesday was one of those days for UCLA, who needed the help of six Cal St. Northridge errors to come from behind and defeat the Matadors, 5-4, to improve to 12-3 on the season.
UCLA scored first, striking for two runs in the third inning. Trent Chatterton cued the rally with a one-out double and he scored with two outs when Kevin Kramer tripled to score him. The hit extended Kramer's streak of consecutive games reaching base to 15 games and he got to celebrate that with a run when Pat Valaika stole second and forced a throwing error, allowing Kramer to score for a 2-0 lead.
But UCLA's lead would only last a half-inning. With two men on second and two outs, Cody Poteet surrendered a RBI single and Northridge was on the board. It was the first dose of reality for Poteet, who worked two perfect innings to start the game, but that was only the start. On a 2-2 count, with Poteet one strike away from getting out of the inning, Miles Williams tagged a pitch and deposited it over the left field fence for a three-run home run that put the Matadors up 4-2.
Poteet bounced back with a 1-2-3 fourth inning, which proved key because the Bruins started chipping away in the fifth.
Ty Moore started the frame was a double down the left field line, which Kramer cashed in with one out. He hit a simple grounder to first base, which was more than enough to score Moore and Northridge's lead was down to one.
It looked like the Bruins would get even the next inning when they loaded the bases with one out, but it wasn't to be. Moore stuck out then Chatterton popped up to shortstop and UCLA was still behind.
With UCLA unable to cash in their chances, Northridge decided to help them out an inning later. Brian Carroll reached on a throwing error to start the inning then stole second. With one out, Kramer laid down a bunt single, which moved Carroll to third, but a throwing error on the play then allowed Carroll to come around and score. Two errors, a stolen base and a single scored the tying run for the Bruins, who were now even with the Matadors at 4-4.
The Matadors almost jumped in front again after the seventh inning stretch, but Kramer ensured that the Bruins would stay even. With two on and two out, the sophomore made a fantastic diving stop, got up and threw to first to end the inning with UCLA still even.
UCLA completed the comeback the following inning when another Northridge error gifted them the lead. Eric Filia led off the frame with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt. before another throwing error scored him, essentially handing the Bruins the win.
The Bruins' were only able to make the comeback and pick up the win because of their bullpen, which was fantastic in backing up Poteet. The freshman was strong with the exception of his bad third inning and throw a good fourth and fifth before handing the ball to Ryan Deeter, who allowed a hit in one scoreless inning. Zack Weiss then followed it up with a scoreless inning of his own before David Berg wrapped it up with four strikeouts in two innings as the four pitchers combined to allow just one hit after the third inning to seal the UCLA win.
Notes: Zack Weiss earned the win, his first of the season ... David Berg picked up his fourth save of the season ... Pat Valaika, Eric Filia and Trent Chatterton all had two hits ... Cody Poteet allowed four runs in five innings, with all of them coming in the third and he did not allow a base runner in any of the other four frames.