Andrew Moore is not just one of the best freshmen pitchers in the Pac-12, he is one of the best pitchers in the conference period and on Saturday UCLA found that out first hand. Moore dazzled at Jackie Robinson Stadium, shutting down the Bruins before handing the ball to a bullpen was just as good and preserved a 5-0 Oregon St. win that tied the big Pac-12 series at a game apiece.
Moore struck out five and limited the Bruins to just four hits in 6.2 shutout innings. UCLA didn't get their first hit of the game until the fourth as their offense failed to find any support for Nick Vander Tuig, who took the hard luck loss despite striking out six and allowing a mere two runs in 6.2 innings of his own.
UCLA had a chance to jump in front in the first inning thanks to some wildness on the part of Moore. Kevin Kramer walked with two out and after Pat Valaika reached on a fielder' choice, Cody Regis also walked to load the bases. But that is as far as the Bruins would get because Shane Zeile struck out to end the inning.
It didn't look like the missed opportunity would hurt the Bruins too badly because Vander Tuig was cruising. He allowed just one man to reach in the first two innings and that Beaver was erased trying to steal. When he struck out the leadoff man in the third he pushed his punch out total to for and the groundout that followed had him still on pace to face the minimum.
But that was the end of the easy road for Vander Tuig as the Beavers picked up a single and a walk to put two men on. That brought up Joey Jansen, who ripped a double into right center, scoring the first run of the game. Brian Carroll came up with a great throw on the play and Valaika made a good cutoff to get the second man at the plate, but the damage was done. Oregon St. had their run.
Kramer reached again in the third inning, the second of four times he would reach in a game that saw him go 2-2 with a walk and hit by pitch, but he didn't go anywhere. Zeile singled an inning late to break up Moore's no-hitter and Trent Chatterton followed with a single of his own, but like Kramer, they were also stranded.
Oregon St. added to their lead in the fifth when they cashed in a leadoff double two battlers late. A single scored that man and the Beavers had themselves a 2-0 lead, but that was a run they would never need.
UCLA had two chances to get on the scoreboard when they put men in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings, but they ran themselves out of both. First, Regis was thrown out trying to steal third to end the sixth, then an inning late Christoph Bono was thrown out trying to steal third, also to end the frame. That just about summed up the offensive game for the Bruins.
Fortune wasn't on UCLA's side either. With two men in scoring position and two out in the ninth, what should have been an inning-ending ground ball took a crazy hop, bounced over Chatterton's head and into the outfield for a two-RBI double that stretched the Beavers' lead to 4-0. They'd tack on one more run for good measure, but the game was in the bag already.
The Oregon St. pitching staff did the job on Saturday to even up the serie and set up a rubber match on Sunday for a series win that could be the top line on either team's resume come Selection Monday.