May 5, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif. - Redshirt freshman catcher Justin Hazard hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the ninth-ranked UCLA Baseball team a 4-3 win over Utah and a series sweep of the Utes.
Sophomore David Berg earned the win for the Bruins, pitching another scoreless inning in relief to move to 6-0 on the year. Nick Green suffered the loss for the Utes, falling to 0-1 after allowing one run in 1.1 innings pitched. Sophomore left-hander Grant Watson started the game on the mound for UCLA and threw 5.1 innings while giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out three.
UCLA took the early lead in the bottom of the first, starting when junior Brian Carroll led off with a single to left. Sophomore Kevin Kramer moved him over to second with a sacrifice bunt, and two batters later junior Pat Valaika brought him home with a single to right to make it 1-0 Bruins.
After both sides failed to score in the second and third innings, Utah tied it up in the top of the fourth when Tyler Relf singled up the middle off of Watson to score Cory Hunt. With runners on first and third and one out in the inning, the Utes attempted a squeeze play with Tyler Yagi at the plate as they looked to grab the lead. Yagi got the bunt down, but Watson fielded it cleanly and threw out Trey Nielsen at the plate to keep the Utes from going ahead.
Utah would eventually take the lead in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs on a two-run single by Relf to make it 3-1 Utes. The lead would be short-lived though, as the Bruins came right back and evened things up with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. After back-to-back singles by Filia and Valaika to lead off the frame, junior Pat Gallagher stepped to the plate and knocked in Filia with a RBI single to left, cutting Utah's lead to one. After Valaika advanced to third on a fly out to right by sophomore Shane Zeile, freshman Christoph Bono grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Valaika to score, tying the game at 3-3.
Neither team would score in the seventh or eighth innings, and after Berg shut down the Utes in the ninth the Bruins came to bat looking to end things in the bottom of the ninth. Kramer flied out to start the inning, but Filia singled and Valaika walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Gallagher then reached on a fielding error by Nielsen at first base, loading the bases for Hazard. Hazard would then end the game with a fly ball to left that was plenty deep enough for Filia to score, handing the Bruins the 4-3 walk-off win.
Valaika and Filia each went 2-4 on the day, with Filia scoring two runs and Valaika logging a run and a RBI. Junior Kevin Williams also recorded a multi-hit day, going 2-3. On the mound, freshmen Cody Poteet and James Kaprielian put together nice performances out of the bullpen, combining for 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.
UCLA (31-13, 14-7 Pac-12) will continue its homestand against Cal State Northridge (29-18) on Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Game Notes: This was the fifth Pac-12 home sweep and the 10th Pac-12 sweep overall for the Bruins in the last four years...David Berg extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 26.1 innings and lowered his ERA to 0.68 with his scoreless ninth...He has also now recorded a win and two saves in the same week for the second time this season...Pat Valaika recorded his team-leading 14th multi-hit game and finished the series going 5-10 with three runs and three RBI...Valaika has also reached base safely in 16 consecutive games and extended his hitting streak to seven games...Eric Filia has now hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games while Kevin Kramer has recorded at least one hit in 12 of his last 14 games...this was UCLA's third walk-off win of the season...the Bruins improved to 12-1 in one-run games and 27-4 when they score three or more runs in a ballgame.