Despite taking a 4-0 lead to the ninth, the UCLA Baseball team dropped its series finale with rivals USC, falling to the Trojans, 7-4, on Saturday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Kyle Davis (2-3) earned the win for USC, pitching three innings in relief for the Trojans. Freshman Nick Kern (1-1) took the loss for the Bruins, giving up five runs on four hits without getting an out in the ninth.
Sophomore Cody Poteet started the game for UCLA and put together a quality start, tossing seven shutout innings for the Bruins. Poteet struck out one and scattered four hits in his seven innings of work. Bob Wheatley started the game for the Trojans, giving up four runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings pitched.
Poteet held the Trojans scoreless for the first two innings before the Bruins threatened in the bottom of the second. Sophomores Christoph Bono and Trent Chatterton hit back-to-back singles with one out, bringing up senior Aaron Weimer. Weimer attempted a safety squeeze, but the ball was hit too hard back to the pitcher and he was thrown out at first. The next batter was senior Pat Gallagher, who ripped a 1-0 pitch for a line drive but right to Jake Hernandez at first, ending the inning.
The Bruins would take the lead in the bottom of the third though with two runs off of Wheatley. With one out, sophomore Ty Moore smacked a double to right field and junior Shane Zeile drew a walk to put runners at first and second for senior Kevin Williams. Williams came through, crushing a double to the right-center gap to bring home Moore and Zeile and give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
Poteet continued to pitch well, holding the Trojans scoreless for the next two innings before being rewarded with two more insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Moore logged his second double of the day and then came around to score on a single by Zeile on the next at-bat, making the score 3-0 in UCLA’s favor. The next batter was Williams, who laced his second double of the game to center field allowing Zeile to score to make it 4-0 Bruins.
In the top of the sixth, USC threatened by getting runners on first and second with two outs off of Poteet. Poteet would not get rattled though as he got Vahn Bozoian to foul out to Chatterton at short for the final out of the inning.
The Bruins kept the Trojans scoreless for the next two innings but USC responded with seven runs in the top of the ninth to take the lead. Kern came in in the ninth and gave up three straight singles to load the bases for the Trojans. Kern then walked Reggie Southall to bring in a run, cutting UCLA’s lead to 4-1. The next batter was Kevin Swick, who singled deep off the wall in left to bring in Omar Cotto Lozada, making the score 4-2, UCLA. Junior Max Schuh came in to relieve Kern after that and walked Garrett Stubbs on four pitches to bring another run home and to get USC within one.
Schuh gave way to freshman Grant Dyer after one batter as Dyer came in to face Jeremy Martinez with the bases loaded. Martinez brought home the tying run with a single to left to even the game at 4-4 before Jake Hernandez followed suit with another RBI single to left, giving the Trojans a 5-4 advantage. Dyer got the next two outs, but with runners on second and third Blake Lacey hit a single up the middle to bring in two more, giving USC a 7-4 lead. The Bruins could not score any runs in the bottom of the ninth and USC earned the series sweep with a 7-4 win.
Moore led UCLA at the plate, going 3-4 with two double and two runs scored. Zeile added a single, a RBI and two runs while Williams went 2-4 with two doubles and three RBI.
UCLA (22-19, 9-9 Pac-12) will return to action this Tuesday as the Bruins travel up to Santa Barbara to face UC Santa Barbara (25-10) at 3 p.m. in a midweek contest.
Game Notes: Ty Moore’s two runs scored matched a season-high while Kevin Williams two doubles and three RBI matched career-highs…Moore also logged his 12th multi-hit game of the year…UCLA dropped a season series with USC for the first time since 2005…the series sweep was UCLA’s first since 2010 when the Bruins were swept by Arizona State...Shane Zeile increased his average to a team-leading .316 in Pac-12 play with his 1-3 day.