It took until the sixth inning for the UCLA offense to wake up, but when they did they turned a 4-0 deficit into a 4-4 tie and an inning later a two-run lead. The Bruins then made that lead hold up to complete their comeback and defeat Cal Poly 6-4 in the winner's bracket game of the Los Angeles Regional.
With the win, the Bruins are now 2-0 in the postseason and sitting pretty with a spot in the Regional championship. They now have two games to win one and move onto the Super Regionals, whereas Cal Poly or San Diego will have to win three straight games to advance.
Kevin Williams turned the Bruins' fortunes around with a three-RBI triple in the sixth to tie the game, an inning that saw the UCLA offense wake up from their early slumber. The Bruins managed just one base runner in the first five innings, a walk, as the Mustangs jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
Cal Poly got to Nick Vander Tuig right away, scoring two runs in the first inning. Consecutive singles started the inning before a wild pitch moved them each up 90 feet. A sacrifice fly proved to be enough to scratch the first run of the game, but the Mustangs added to it when Jimmy Allen laced a double to give Cal Poly a 2-0 lead.
Vander Tuig worked around two singles in the second, but wasn't as fortunate in the third. A leadoff single, followed by a walk put two men on before a single scored another run. The following inning, Cal Poly added another with a RBI single and they looked well on their way to victory.
After going down 1-2-3 in the fifth, it looked like Mat Imhoff just had UCLA's number, or the UCLA offense went to sleep, depending on your perspective, but the sixth inning turned things around.
Pat Gallagher notched the Bruins' first hit of the game with a leadoff double to left. After a single by Brenton Allen and a Brian Carroll hit by a pitch, the Bruins had the bases loaded and Kevin Kramer got UCLA on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly. But the Bruins still trailed 4-1 and while Eric Filia singled to load the bases, UCLA needed a big hit. Luckily for them, Williams gave them just that with a triple to tie the game at four apiece.
Momentum was squarely in the Bruins' dugout and they kept it going the following inning. A single by Cody Regis and walk by Allen put two men on before Carroll laid down a perfect bunt to reach and load the bases. It looked like the UCLA rally might go for naught when Kramer struck out, but Filia's groundball into no-man's land between the pitcher and shortstop was good enough for a RBI single and the Bruins had their first lead of the game. Pat Valaika then showed his experience, taking a few close pitches to work a walk, forcing a run in and UCLA led 6-4.
Vander Tuig's day was done after six innings of four-run ball and while it wasn't his best effort, he still handed the ball to the bullpen with UCLA lead. James Kaprielian entered and in his first career postseason game, the freshman was as good as ever. He struck out two in a 1-2-3 seventh, then did it again the following inning to get the ball to David Berg.
Berg proved as dependable as ever in the ninth, striking out a pair to earn his 20th save of the season and wrapping up the UCLA victory that has them right where they want to be in the Los Angeles Regional -- two games, two wins and a spot in the Super Regional just one more victory away.