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UCLA Shuts Out Utah 3-0, Looks for Sweep Today

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The UCLA Bruins' pitchers yield only three hits to the Utah Utes, and the offense does enough for the series win.

UCLA's Grant Watson was masterful on Saturday against the Utah Utes.
UCLA's Grant Watson was masterful on Saturday against the Utah Utes.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

In stark contrast to the offensive fireworks on Friday night, in which UCLA exploded for 14 runs on 19 hits, Saturday afternoon’s game was a pitchers’ duel, in which UCLA prevailed 3-0, ensuring a series win. Unlike some of the UCLA teams of the past, including the 2013 National Champions, which relied on stellar pitching and defense and less on offense (although they had a penchant for timely hitting), the 2015 iteration of UCLA baseball can win with offense or win with pitching and defense.

In yesterday’s game, the Bruins did enough offensively, totaling 5 hits. UCLA scored on a fielder’s choice in the 1st, Christoph Bono doubled in Brett Urabe in the 5th, and Ty Moore singled in Luke Perscio with two outs in the 6th, chasing Utah’s starter, Dalton Carroll. Carroll took the hard luck loss for the Utes, throwing 6 and 2/3 innings, and yielding all of UCLA’s runs and hits.

On the flip side of things, UCLA’s pitching was outstanding, with 4 pitchers combining for a 3 hit shutout. Starter Grant Watson was excellent, throwing 6 innings, scattering 3 hits (all singles), and striking out 4. If Watson was excellent, UCLA’s relievers were even better—in fact, they were perfect. Head Coach John Savage used Tucker Forbes in the 7th, Grant Dyer in the 8th, and David Berg in the 9th. Each pitcher faced three batters, all of whom were retired. Berg recorded his 4th save of the year. Coach Savage’s use of his bullpen yesterday was spot on with the analysis in BN’s series preview of what he would like to do with the lead going into the late innings.

The Bruins will look to get out the brooms for a series sweep this afternoon. It appears that Coach Savage will be shuffling his starting pitchers for today’s matchup. Freshman right-hander, Griffin Canning (3-1; 2.43 ERA), UCLA’s usual mid-week starter, is expected to take the hill instead of the Bruins’ usual Sunday starter, junior right-hander, Cody Poteet (2-1; 3.74 ERA). Poteet has been solid on Sundays, but it looks like Coach Savage is looking for something more, and maybe stirring up some friendly competition for the Sunday spot, which is never a bad thing.  Utah will counter with freshman righthander, Jayson Rose (1-2; 3.76 ERA).

The first pitch is at 1 p.m. PT. Come on out to Jackie Robinson Stadium. It looks like it will be gorgeous day for Bruin baseball in Westwood. As was the case with the earlier games in this series, there is no TV coverage, but you can listen to John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm call the game or follow along with live statistics.

This is your UCLA vs. Utah baseball open thread.

Go Bruins!!! Let’s get the sweep!