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UCLA vs. UC Berkeley: The Rubber Match

Who will take the series, the Bruins or the Golden Bears?

UCLA's freshman phenom, Griffin Canning
UCLA's freshman phenom, Griffin Canning

In what is becoming a familiar script this season, yesterday afternoon the UCLA Bruins baseball team (27-8; 13-4 PAC 12) got about six strong innings from their starting pitcher (in this case, 6 and 1/3 innings, to be specific), and the triumvirate of Tucker Forbes, Grant Dyer, and Dave Berg closed the door on the opposition, preserving the win for the Bruins by a score of 7-1. UCLA is undefeated this season when it leads after six innings. This time, the victim was the UC Berkeley Golden Bears (23-12; 10-7 PAC 12), as the Bruins bounced back from their Friday night loss and evened the series at one game apiece. The Bruins remain in sole possession of first place in the PAC 12 Conference.

Yesterday's starter was Grant Watson, who pitched the aforementioned 6 and 1/3 innings, giving up only three hits and one run, while recording five strikeouts. Watty raised his record to 6-3 and added another win to his UCLA record for wins by a left-hander. The bullpen was lights out again, as neither Forbes, Dyer, nor Berg allowed a hit in the final 2 and 2/3 innings.

After not scoring a run on Friday, the UCLA bats came alive early, as the Bruins put up four runs, on five hits (all singles) and an error in the bottom of the first inning. That would be all the Bruins needed, although they tacked on single runs the second, seventh, and eighth innings. UCLA was paced by first baseman, Luke Persico, who was 3-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Darrell Miller, Jr. and Trent Chatterton also had standout performances at the plate, with Miller going 2-4 with two RBI and Chatty going 2-3 with a walk, one RBI, and one run scored. As usual, Miller was excellent defensively behind the plate. Christoph Bono had a dazzling defensive play in center field, making a diving catch for the third out in the eighth inning.

The Golden Bears only had five base runners all night and only sent 30 batters to the plate, three over the minimum, as two of their runners were erased by a Grant Watson pick off and a UCLA double play. The Bears plated their only run in the top of the seventh inning, after Watty gave up back-to-back hits, and Forbes induced ground ball out, which scored the run.

Both UCLA and UC Berkeley will be looking for the series win tonight at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Both teams will send freshman to the mound tonight, with left-hander, Matt Ladrech (5-4, 2.45 ERA), taking the mound for UC Berkeley, and right-hander, Griffin Canning (6-1; 2.74 ERA), going for the Bruins. UCLA will look to continue its streak of series wins and remain in first place in the PAC 12 Conference. The Golden Bears will try to keep their fourth-place position in conference play and remain relevant nationally.

First pitch is at 10:30 p.m. PT. Come out to the ballpark and support the Bruins for the Saturday night series finale. The game will be televised on the PAC 12 Network. You can follow James Ramey and Tim Wilhelm via online audio stream or you can follow via live game stats.

This is your UCLA vs. Cal Game Three open thread.

Go Bruins!