It started quickly and ended early. UCLA bounced back from a heartbreaking ninth inning loss to Stanford on Saturday by scoring six runs in the first three innings and then riding fantastic pitching to a 6-1 win over UC Irvine. After the opening three innings of Bruin runs the game flew by and all 51 outs took all of two hours and 28 minutes. The win over 26-11 Anteaters marks the Bruins' third consecutive midweek win and saw UCLA improve to 22-14 on the season ahead of a visit from the Pac-10's first place team, Oregon St., this weekend.
While the early offense pushed the Bruins ahead and put them in control early, they only made quick work of the Anteaters because of the pitching that limited Irvine to four hits and one unearned run all game. Zack Weiss picked up the win to improve to 4-1 on the year with seven inning of three hit ball in which he allowed just one unearned run. At one point, the freshman retired 11 consecutive batters and he walked just one in a start that he did not allow a single extra base hit. Mitchell Beacom relieved him with a perfect eighth inning in which he struck out two and Nick Vander Tuig wrapped things up with a scoreless ninth.
The three and four hitters for the Bruins did the bulk of the damage as Dean Espy and Cody Regis combined to drive in five of UCLA's six runs. Regis reached base in all four plate appearances, picking up two hits and walking twice to go along with three RBI. Espy also had a pair of hits, drove in two runs and scored twice, while Beau Amaral bunted for a single to stretch his hitting streak to 12 games.
The game got off to a bad start for UCLA as the opening Anteater batter of the game reached on an error by Pat Valaika. A single put runners at the corners and while Weiss induced a double play, the runner from third did score to give Irvine a 1-0 first inning lead.
UCLA came right back in the bottomg half of the inning as Jeff Gelalich started the frame with a walk before taking second on Amaral's sacrifice bunt. Espy followed with a single back up the middle to score Gelalich and just like that the game was tied at 1-1. It wouldn't be tied for long though as Regis followed with a shot to left center for a two-bagger that scored Espy all the way from first and put the Bruins up 2-1 after one.
The Bruins started the first inning with a walk and it paid off and in the second they got their lead off man on without a hit again as Trevor Brown was hit by a pitch to start off the frame. Gelalich got the chance to swing the bat in his at bat and roped a single up the middle to put men on the corners, which Espy took advantage of with one out. Espy picked up his second RBI single to center in as many innings to score Brown and put UCLA up 3-1. Espy then moved into scoring positon by stealing second so when Regis singled, two men came in to score and the Bruins held a 5-1 advantage.
Cody Keefer continued the trend of Bruin lead off men getting on base when he started the third with a bunt single an while he only made it to second with two outs already gone, UCLA got the two-out they needed. Brown picked out a 0-1 pitch and smacked it into right center to score Keefer from second and stretch that UCLA lead out to 6-1.
Staked to a 6-1 lead, Weiss was on cruise control. A two-out single in the second was erased when Steve Rodriguez threw the man out trying to steal and that man proved to be the last man to reach base on Weiss until there were two outs in the sixth. The freshman exited the game after seven innings in line for the win he would go on to pick up.
Beacom had no problems in the eighth and Vander Tuig put the Anteaters away in the ninth, ending the ballgame with the scoreboard flashing a 6-1 UCLA win. The Bruins will return the trip to Irvine on May 24th when they play at Anteater Ballpark.