Coming back from deficits of 2-0 and 5-1 against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the UCLA Bruins baseball team rallied for the victory yesterday at Jackie Robinson Stadium, on the strength of Ty Moore’s walk off single in the bottom of the 9th inning. With one out in the 9th, Stephens singled and Kevin Kramer drew a walk. Moore stepped to the plate and singled down the right-field line, scoring Stephens and ending the game, and the series, in dramatic fashion. Dave Berg pitched the last two innings of scoreless, no hit ball to secure the win.
Gonzaga (21-23; 10-11 WCC) plated runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings to take an early 2-0 lead. The Zags’ scored on a two out single followed by a two out double in the 2nd, and on a solo home run by Mitchell Gonsulous in the 3rd. The Bruins cut the lead in half in the bottom of the 3rd inning, on a Brett Stephens walk, a Kevin Kramer single, and a Ty Moore RBI ground out.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 3-1 with a run in the 4th inning. UCLA Head Coach, John Savage, made a pitching change to start the 5th inning, substituting Grant Dyer for starter, Griffin Canning, who gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in 4 innings pitched. Canning struck out 8. The usually reliable Dyer had a tough 5th inning, giving up a two run home run to Taylor Jones, pushing the lead to 5-1.
The Bruins cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the 5th inning, when Coach Savage manufactured a run with two outs and runners on the corners, in Stephens and Moore. Moore broke to steal second and, on the catcher’s throw, was able to get himself in a rundown. Meanwhile, Stephens broke for home on the throw. Moore was able to avoid being tagged for the third and final out of the 5th inning before Stephens reached home.
After Dyer retired the Zags in order in the top of the 6th inning, UCLA tied the game with 3 runs in the bottom half of that inning, on doubles by Luke Persico and Christoph Bono, mixed in with a walk, a Gonzaga error, and a balk. No team scored again until Moore’s heroics in the bottom of the 9th inning to end and game and secure the win for the Bruins.
UCLA (33-11; 16-5 PAC 12) gets another series win, and still has not lost a weekend series all season. Although they did not play conference game this week, the Bruins gained ground in the race for the PAC 12 title, as Arizona State lost its series at UC Berkeley, dropping ASU to 14-7 in conference. So UCLA will have a 2 game lead in conference as it heads to Phoenix this weekend for a pivotal series that will have a pronounced effect on who will take the PAC 12 crown. But, first, UCLA will have to get through the Pepperdine Waves, who will travel down the coast on Tuesday for a midweek game at Jackie Robinson Stadium.