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UCLA Walks Off With 4-3 Win To Sweep Utah

It took some ninth inning drama, but UCLA got the job done to sweep Utah and hang around in the Pac-12 title race.

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Sundays haven't treated UCLA well of late. They had los four consecutive series finales and on Sunday, it looked like Utah would add to their series finale woes when the Utes scored two in the sixth. But the Bruins answered right back in the bottom half of the inning, then got the game-winning run in the ninth to walk off with a 4-3 win and series sweep.

The Bruins' offense totaled 11 hits, led by Eric Filia, who went 2-for-4 with two runs, including the winning run. Pat Valaika had two hits himself, as well as a RBI and run, while Kevin Williams joined them in the two-hit club.

Brian Carroll got the Bruins going in the first inning with a leadoff single and took second on a Kevin Kramer sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Valaika picked up a base knock that scored Carroll and UCLA had an early lead.

That lead would only last until the fourth inning, though. A leadoff walk came back to bite Grant Watson when two singles followed to score the tying run and knot things up at 1-1.

Two innings later, Watson's day came to an end. He allowed consecutive singles and after a passed ball and groundout, the Utes had two men in scoring position, but they weren't there for long. Another single followed, scoring two and the Utes were up 3-1.

Filia helped spur a quick response with a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth, though, and Valaika followed with a single of his own. Pat Gallagher then made it three straight singles, scoring Filia and the Bruins' deficit was cut in half. Shane Zeile registered the first out of the inning with a fly out to right, but it was deep enough for Valaika to tag and take third. That proved vital when Christoph Bono grounded into a fielder's choice, erasing Gallagher at second, but allowing Valaika to score to tie the game again.

Cody Poteet got the last out in the sixth inning then came back out for a scoreless seventh to keep the Bruins even. Fellow freshman Jamies Kaprielian tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, too, before David Berg did his job in the ninth. UCLA's bullpen was nails and kept them in the game, just waiting for the offense to come through.

And in the ninth, they did.

Filia got things going yet again, this time with a one-out single. Valaika followed with a walk and the Utes followed with a gift, booting a ball at first to bring up Justin Hazard with the bases loaded and one out. Hazard took a first pitch strike, then he got a hold of a fastball and lifted it to left. It wasn't deep enough for a home run, but it was plenty deep for Filia to tag and score, which he did and UCLA had themselves a valuable series sweep.

Once again, though, the Bruins didn't make up any ground in the conference race. Thanks to wins by Oregon and Oregon St. UCLA is still 3.5 games back of first place in the Pac-12, but they are 31-13 overall and 14-7 in the conference as they hone in on a Regional host spot.