The 12th-ranked UCLA Baseball team rebounded from its opening night loss to Portland last night with a 12-1 win over the Pilots on Saturday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Junior Grant Watson was terrific on the mound for the Bruins, earning the win with seven strong innings. Watson scattered three hits over his seven innings of work, striking out eight while walking just one. His one run allowed was unearned. Kody Watts suffered the loss for Portland, giving up three earned runs in five innings pitched.
At the plate, junior Chris Keck led the way for the Bruins, going 4-5 with a double, a triple, three runs scored and a RBI. Sophomore Trent Chatterton followed that up with a 2-5 performance that included three RBI while sophomore Christoph Bono also went 2-5 with two doubles and two RBI.
Watson retired the first 10 batters he faced as he breezed through the first three innings. In the fourth, he got into a little bit of trouble, putting runners on first and second with one out via back-to-back singles by Michael Lucarelli and Turner Gill. One batter later, Lucarelli attempted to steal third and junior Shane Zeile’s throw sailed high and into the outfield, allowing Lucarelli to score to give the Pilots a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins answered in the bottom half of the inning though, scoring two runs to go ahead 2-1. After Zeile walked to start the inning, he moved to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Keck laced a triple to the right-center field gap, scoring Zeile to make it 1-1. Then with Bono at the plate, Watts threw a wild pitch that reached the backstop, allowing Keck to come home for the go-ahead run.
UCLA would blow the game open in the bottom of sixth, going off for five runs to give the Bruins a six-run lead. Senior Pat Gallagher and Keck got the inning started for the Bruins, leading off with back-to-back singles. Freshman Luke Persico then came to the plate looking to drop down a bunt. He got the bunt down, and Portland third baseman Cody Lenahan tried to get Gallagher at third. However, his throw went wide and into the left field, allowing Gallagher to come in to score. With Persico and Keck on second and third respectively, Chatterton stepped in two batters later and smacked a single up the middle, bringing home both runners. UCLA would load the bases again after senior Brian Carroll got hit by a pitch and freshman Brett Stephens walked, bringing up sophomore Ty Moore. Like Chatterton, Moore hit a single up the middle, scoring Chatterton and making it 6-1 Bruins. Zeile then hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Carroll, giving UCLA a 7-1 advantage.
The Bruins tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the seventh, starting with a double by Keck. Persico then tripled Keck home and one batter later Persico came around on a double by Bono. Chatterton followed with a single to score Bono, bringing UCLA’s lead to 10-1. UCLA wasn’t done though, scoring two more in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Brett Urabe and a RBI double by Bono to give the Bruins the eventual 12-1 victory.
The Bruins (1-1) and Pilots (1-1) will play the rubber match tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Sophomore Cody Poteet will take the mound for UCLA while Kurt Yinger is slated to throw for Portland.
Game Notes: Grant Watson’s eight strikeouts matched career-high...in his last two starts to begin a season, Watson has thrown a combined 13 innings, allowing just five hits and striking out 16…Watson also improved his career record at UCLA to 19-5 with his win tonight…Chris Keck set a new career-high with his four hits in the ballgame while Trent Chatterton set a new career-high with three RBIs…preseason All-American David Berg made his first appearance of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning…UCLA’s pitching staff has not allowed more than one run in a ballgame in its last eight games dating back to last year…all nine of UCLA’s starting position players reached base at least once in tonight’s game.