UCLA played four-plus innings of listless ball on Friday night before the fog came in over Jackie Robinson Stadium and suspended the game. There was some hope that they might find some life when they resumed the game on Saturday afternoon trailing 2-0, but they looked just as clueless at the plate. Until the eighth inning at least.
A pair of runs in the eighth kickstarted an offense that needed a boost and earned the Bruins extra innings. And while the offense wasn't all the way there, leaving men on base left and right, their pitching kept them in it until the 15th inning when Christoph Bono finally broke through with a walk-off single to deliver the Bruins a 3-2 win in their first Pac-12 game of the season.
The Bruins only had a chance because of the outstanding work of their bullpen. Adam Plutko allowed two runs in four innings on Friday before the bullpen tossed 11 shutout innings on Saturday. Cody Poteet worked 3.1 innings of one-hit ball before Ryan Deeter and Max Schuh retired the only batters they faced. Rubber-armed David Berg tossed four scoreless frames before Zack Weiss notched two of his own before getting into trouble in his third. That brought on Hunter Virant, who got two outs outs before Jake Ehret picked up his first career win with a strikeout against his only batter.
Washington struck for a run in the first inning and another in the second to go ahead 2-0. After that, Plutko worked two perfect innings, but he got no help from his offense and in the fourth inning, with a Bruin on second base, the blinding fog finally brought an end to the night's baseball.
When UCLA came back out on Saturday, their offense was still anemic. They stranded Pat Valaika on second base and didn't put another man in scoring position until the eighth.
Finally, with six outs left, the Bruins' offense woke up. Brenton Allen led off the frame with a double and took third on an error before Cody Regis followed with a walk. A passed ball then gifted the Bruins their first run of the game as Allen scampered home, while Regis went to second. A Brian Carroll sacrifice bunt moved Regis to third with one out, setting up Eric Filia's same-tying RBI fielder's choice.
All even again, the Bruins and Huskies went to extra. UCLA had their first chance of the extra frames when Carroll tripled with two outs in the 10th and back-to-back intentional walks loaded the bags, but a groundout left the bases loaded. The Bruins loaded the bases with two outs again in the 14th, but they left the bags full again when Carroll made the curious decision to bunt for a hit.
That decision, and the Bruins' inability to cash in, looked like it would bite them in the top of the 15th. Weiss surrendered a leadoff double, balked him to third then hit the next batter to put men on the corners. That marked the end of Weiss' day as the freshman Virant was charged with getting out of the jam and he did a pretty good job. He sandwiched a walk in between a strikeout and pop up to get two outs, but with a right-hander at the plate, John Savage made another change, going with the untested redshirt freshman Ehret to match up righty vs. righty. It was a gutsy move and it paid off handsomely as Ehret struck out his man to finish up the freshmen's escape of the jam.
Cued by the big escape in the top of the inning, UCLA brought an end to the game in the bottom. Kevin Kramer singled to lead off the inning then took second and third on wild pitches. An intentional walk and an unintentional walk then loaded the bags for Shane Ziele, but the sophomore hit a grounder to shortstop that the Huskies threw home for the force out. With two outs, Bono came to the plate staring another bases loaded threat wasted, but redshirt freshman made sure the game would end right there. He hopped on a 0-2 pitch and roped it into deep right-center to score the winning run and get the Bruins' Pac-12 title defense off to the right start.