Grant Watson Dazzles As UCLA Wins LA Regional, Books Spot In Supers

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

UCLA is heading to the Super Regionals for the third time in four years.

Pitching was always going to carry UCLA in the postseason and the Bruin pitching was as good as ever on Sunday night. Grant Watson, Zack Weiss and David Berg combined to throw a one-hitter in a dazzling and vintage UCLA performance to beat San Diego, 6-0, and complete a perfect 3-0 weekend at the Los Angeles Regional that has them Super Regional bound for the third time in four years.

Watson was marvelous in his first career postseason start, carrying a perfect game into the fourth inning in a seven-inning shutout performance. The southpaw struck out five, walked one and allowed just one hit all game before handing the ball to Zack Weiss, who worked a 1-2-3 eighth before David Berg finished things up with a perfect ninth to wrap up the Regional.

Pat Gallagher went 1-for-2 with two RBI to cap a 5-for-8, four RBI, two run weekend that earned him Regional Most Outstanding Player honors. Eric Filia had himself another big day, going 2-for-3 and scoring three times, while Pat Valaika drove in a pair as both joined Gallagher on the All-Regional team, along with Watson and Adam Plutko.

UCLA got most of their offense just by putting pressure on the USD defense, which wasn't up to the challenge. Brian Carroll put down a gorgeous bunt on the first pitch of the third inning to get UCLA going, then Filia singled to put two men on. Valaika got the Bruins on the scoreboard with a two-RBI single and UCLA was off and running. A single by Kevin Williams followed before Gallagher made it four straight Bruin singles, this one scoring a run for a 3-0 UCLA lead. The Bruins weren't done, though, as Shane Zeile walked to load the bases before Cody Regis added a single of his own to make it a 4-0 ballgame.

A four-run lead was more than enough for Watson, who was at his best from the very start. The sophomore struck out the first man of the game and was off and running. He commanded three pitches expertly and was able to throw them in any count, keeping the Toreros off balance all game.

A two-out double in the fourth broke up Watson's perfect game, but he followed by inducing a fly out to end the inning and he was back to cruising. A 1-2-3 fifth followed and UCLA was in complete control.

San Diego helped UCLA out in the fifth by walking the first three batters of the inning so Gallagher just had to lift a fly ball to center for Filia to tag and score. Two innings later, Filia scored again when Williams followed up Filia's double with one of his own and UCLA had themselves a 6-0 lead.

Once Watson exited the game after seven spectacular innings, San Diego may have thought that they had a chance, but the UCLA bullpen quick quashed the hopes. Weiss had no problem in the eighth and Berg sealed things in the ninth as the Bruins captured the Los Angeles Regional.

UCLA won their Regional by beating each of the other three teams in it once and have now won their Regional with a perfect 3-0 record in consecutive years. They will play next weekend in the Super Regionals against Cal St. Fullerton or Arizona St., whichever comes out of the Fullerton Regional.

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