Last night, the Bruins reached back into their 2013 national title run bag of tricks - dropping Long Beach State, 1-0, through a combination of outstanding, lock-down pitching, and some well-timed small ball, getting the Bruins just enough for a win, although it took a few extra innings to do it. James Kaprielian (9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 K, 3 BB) threw an absolute gem, surrendering just three hits and three walks over nine innings but walks away with a hard-luck no-decision, with the Bruins being completely stymied at the plate by Long Beach State's Andrew Rohrbach (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 3 K, 1 BB).
With both pitching staffs absolutely dealing, it took classic small ball in the top of the 11th to break the deadlock, with freshman DH Kort Peterson getting on board after being plunked by Ty Provencher. But the freshman made Provencher pay, turning a HBP into a triple, first by swiping second base, before later advancing to third on a passed ball. With one down, SS Trent Chatterton worked the count to draw the walk against Provencher, giving the Bruins men on the corners, and then it happened with some real small-ball brilliance: Chatteron faked a steal to second, drawing a throw from Long Beach State C Daniel Jackson, but with no one covering second, Peterson was able to waltz in to score the game's only run on the throwing error. With a one run lead secured, Savage turned the ball over to David Berg (1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 K) in the bottom of the 11th, and despite some shaking going (surrendering two hits), Berg notched his ninth save of the year, giving the Bruins a big win.
With the victory, the Bruins are now on a two-game winning streak and will look to continue building momentum against Long Beach State this afternoon as they prepare to return to conference play next weekend. More importantly, with the Bruins working on building momentum, they got some help in the conference race, with the Ducks dropping the first-place Huskies last night. For more coverage on other games impacting the Pac-12 conference standings, check out islandbruin2's review of those games.
Turning to today's game, the Bruins will send out usual Saturday starter, junior southpaw Grant Watson (4-2, 2.70 ERA) to try to give UCLA the series victory and keep their newest winning streak alive. Facing off against Watson will be Long Beach State's senior right-handed pitcher, Josh Frye (0-0, 2.70 ERA), who is making only his second start on the year. With the win in hand at Long Beach State's Blair Field, the series now temporarily returns to UCLA territory, with first pitch slated for 2 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
In case you missed it, islandbruin2 has a series preview available here, and you can check out the official series preview here. If you're unable to make it out to Jackie Robinson Stadium on this beautiful Southern California Saturday afternoon, you can listen in live to the audio broadcast, being called by John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm. Or if you can't listen in, you can track the game live on the official website's Gametracker.
This is your Saturday baseball open thread, so fire away in the comment thread with your comments, takes, or what you see as you're watching, tracking, or listening in to the game.