There was not supposed to be much of a race for the Pac-12 title this season. While Arizona, Arizona St., Oregon St. and UCLA were all expected to be very good clubs, Stanford was considered the class of the conference. Well, after three weekends, Stanford isn't anywhere to be found at the top of the league. A sweep at the hands of Arizona knocked them down and propelled the Wildcats to the top spot. There, they are joined by UCLA, who finished off a series sweep at Utah on Sunday with a 5-1 win that has them at 20-5 on the season and 7-2 in the Pac-12.
The Bruins pushed to the top of the conference thanks to a tremendous start by Grant Watson. The freshman struggled a week ago, but he was dealing in Salt Lake City. He picked up the win to improve to 6-1 on the season after six inning of one-run ball. The southpaw also punched out five before handing the ball to the bullpen. There, David Berg, Ryan Deeter and Scott Griggs picked up the slack with a scoreless inning apiece.
Offensively, Tyler Heineman continued his hot hitting. The junior went 2-2 and reached in all five at-bats to go along with a run scored. Beau Amaral led off the game with a solo home run and scored twice, while Jeff Gelalich picked up two hits and Trevor Brown drove in a pair.
Amaral had the Bruins flying from the get go when he launched one way out to right field to start things off as well as they can go. A walk by Heineman and single by Gellaich put two on and a wild pitch moved them into scoring position for Brown, whose singled plated a pair. Before the Utes had even picked up their bats, the Bruins were up 3-0.
The Utes threw the Bruins a bone in the second. Cody Regis singled to start the inning and and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Then, an error on a Cody Keefer shot that should have ended the inning allowed Regis to come around to score and it was 4-0 Bruins.
A pair of single put men on the corners for Utah in the third so a simple fly out did the job. It was enough for the man to tag and score from third and UCLA's lead was down to three runs.
UCLA would push their lead back up an inning later when Amaral reached on a hit by pitch and Heineman singled. A Gelalich single then played Amaral and the Bruins were back up four.
Up 5-1, UCLA put the game on cruise control. With the way Watson was pitching, the game was never really in danger. A single and walk in the eighth off of Deeter gave the Utes some hope, but a double play ended the frame and while they did load the bags in the ninth, Griggs struck out a pair to wrap up the sweep.