Once again Trevor Bauer pitched sensationally and this time his opposition didn't throw a no-hitter to beat him. The junior continued his incredible season and the Bruins got the winning RBI from an unexpected source to defeat Oregon, 3-1, and clinch the Pac-10 series a day after they took the opening contest in the three-game set. Now UCLA is in position to go after their first road series sweep of the season with a win on Sunday at PK Park, a win that could move them even closer to the top of the Pac-10. With a 26-16 overall record and 13-7 conference mark, the Bruins sit just 1.5 games behind conference leading Oregon St.
A year ago against Oregon, the Ducks tagged Bauer for eight runs, six earned, to beat the Bruins. It was one of the tougher starts for Bauer in his sensational career, but he bounced back on Saturday. The right-hander threw his fifth consecutive complete game in a four hit, one run effort. Bauer also struck out 12 in the contest, giving him at least 10 in 11 of 12 starts this season. Not only did Bauer bounce back from last year's tough go of it against Oregon, but he added a few more records to his name by becoming the first Bruin to strike out over 400 batters in a career and by becoming the first Bruin to win nine games in three different seasons.
There wasn't a ton of offense from the Bruins, but there was enough. UCLA totaled only six hits, but they got the couple timely hits that they needed. Kevin Williams drove home the two winning runs with a 1-2 effort in which the freshman drove in two runs and drew a walk. Jeff Gelalich and Pat Valaika had the Bruins' two lone extra base hit, each doubled and scoring, while Steve Rodriguez scored once and Dean Espy picked up a RBI.
Things started quickly for the Bruins and as was the case often, they got the job done with two strikes. Gelalich led off the game by lacing a double down the left field line on a 0-2 count and after a sacrifice bunt he was standing at third. Like Gelalich, Espy found himself in a 0-2 count, but he got the job done with a grounder to short that allowed Gelalich to score.
All game long the Ducks struggled against Bauer, but they got one good swing on him and it paid off. A 2-1 pitch in the fourth inning was launched out to deep left and tied up the game at a run apiece.
As quickly as Oregon tied the game, UCLA grabbed the lead back. Rodriguez led off the fifth inning with a walk and Valaika followed by showing bunt before pulling back and roping a double to left. With two men in scoring position and none out, Williams came to the plate. The freshman was making just his 11th start of the year, but he came through with a chopper back up the middle. It wasn't the hardest hit ball, but it made it through for a base hit that scored both base runners and UCLA had themselves a 3-1 lead.
There weren't many opportunities for the Bruins to get any more runs on the board, but they didn't need any more offense. Not with Bauer on the hill and the defense getting the job done behind him.
Oregon tried to do what UCLA did with a quick answer when they put two men on with two outs in the sixth, but Bauer worked his way out of the jam. The junior induced a grounder to second base for the last out of the inning and from there Bauer cruised.
The final out of the sixth inning was the first of 10 consecutive batters retired by Bauer to end the game. He finished the game in dominating fashion and now UCLA is one win away from getting an always impressive road Pac-10 series sweep.