After losing Game 1 by a score of 3-2, in which all of Oregon State's runs were unearned, the UCLA Bruins baseball team (23-6; 10-2 PAC 12), roared back to takes Games 2 and 3, by scores of 4-1 and 10-5, respectively. UCLA takes the series from the Beavs (22-9; 5-4 PAC 12). The Bruins have not lost a series all season. UCLA's win keeps them in sole possession of first place in the PAC 12.
UCLA's bats really came alive yesterday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 3rd on a single by Christoph Bono, a double by Trent Chatterton, and a single by Kevin Kramer. The lead was short-lived, as the Beavers put up a 5 spot in the top of the 4th, chasing UCLA starter, Griffin Canning. The 5 run outburst was punctuated by Elliot Cary's 2 run home run down the right field line. Rather than lie down, the Bruins refused to lose, chip, chip, chipping away with a run in the 4th, a run in the 5th, and a game tying run in the 6th. In the meantime, Cody Poteet held down the fort on the defensive side of things, pitching 2 and 2/3 innings of scoreless, one hit ball.
Then, in the bottom of the seventh, UCLA put up a 5 spot of its own, taking over the game. UCLA batted around, with singles by Darrell Miller, Jr. and Chatterton, doubles by Brett Stephens and Luke Persico, 2 walks, and a hit-by-pitch. When it was all said and done, UCLA had a 10-5 lead. That was more than enough for the Bruins, as UCLA Head Coach, John Savage, opted to bring in closer, Dave Berg, to pitch the 8th inning. Berg was excellent, pitching both the 8th and 9th, setting down all 6 batters he faced, and earning the win, his third of the season.
Coach Savage flip-flopped Chatterton and Bono in the lineup, putting Bono, the usual #9 hitter, in the 8 hole and Chatty, the usual number #8 hitter, in the 9 hole. It worked, as Bono went 2-2 with a walk and 2 runs scored, and Chatterton went 2-4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. Brett Stephens also had a nice game, going 3-4 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. Every Bruin starter had at least one hit and UCLA totaled 14 hits, most in the series.
UCLA now looks ahead to a big series across town next weekend at Southern Cal. The Trogans are 7-2 in the PAC 12, good enough for second place. They have 3 less wins than UCLA but have an equal number of losses. Like the Bruins, Southern Cal is ranked in the top 10 by the various college baseball rating services. UCLA has already lost to the Trogans this season in a game that does not count in the conference standings, falling 8-4 in the Dodgertown Classic, at Dodger Stadium.
UCLA will be looking forward to some revenge, and will try to maintain their lead in the PAC 12 standings. This figures to be a highly emotional and competitive series. The series starts on Friday at 3 p.m. PT, and all games will be televised on the PAC 12 Network. Bruins Nation will, of course, be providing coverage of the entire series, including a series preview on Friday afternoon.