May 19, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif. - The eighth-ranked UCLA Baseball team continued its winning ways on Sunday, sweeping crosstown rivals USC with a 5-2 victory at Dedeaux Field. Sophomore David Berg picked up his 16th save of the year to set the new UCLA record for most saves in a season while head coach John Savage won his 400th career game.
Sophomore Grant Watson picked up his sixth win of the season, surrendering just two runs (one earned) in five innings of work. Kyle Twomey took the loss for USC, giving up five runs (four earned) in six innings pitched while walking four.
The Trojans scored an early run off of Watson in the bottom of the first, starting when they put runners on first and second with one out. Errors by Watson and sophomore Kevin Kramer on a pickoff attempt at second allowed the runners to move up, and eventually USC scored when Greg Zebrack hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Adam Landecker to make it 1-0 Trojans.
The Bruins came back though and grabbed the lead in top of third. Junior Brenton Allen got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and freshman Justin Hazard walked to move him to second. A wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position, and with one out Kramer knocked both of them in with a single up the middle, making it 2-1 UCLA.
UCLA's defense then took over in the bottom half of the inning with a couple of nice plays behind Watson. With Landecker on first and nobody out, James Roberts hit a chopper to third that Kramer picked cleanly and turned into a nice 5-4-3 double play. After a single by Zebrack extended the inning, Kevin Swick came to bat and hit a ball towards the gap that looked to be extra bases. But sophomore Eric Filia hustled in and made an outstanding diving catch to end the inning.
The Bruins tacked on an insurance run in the top of the fifth, as senior Cody Regis hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to bring in Kramer and increase UCLA's lead to two. USC got one back in the bottom half of the frame though, as Timmy Robinson scored on a fielder's choice by Roberts to cut the Bruins' lead back down to one. But then in top of the sixth, UCLA responded with two runs to bring its lead to three. With runners on first and third and two outs, junior Pat Valaika smacked a triple to right, scoring Kramer and Filia to make it 5-2 Bruins.
After freshmen Cody Poteet and James Kaprielian kept the Trojans off the board in the sixth and seventh innings, USC threatened in the eighth, putting runners on first and second with one out off of junior Zack Weiss. Garrett Stubbs then came to the plate, and hit a hard grounder up the middle that looked to be a sure base hit. Valaika came flying in from shortstop though and made a great diving stop and glove toss to second to get the runner, preventing a run in the process. Weiss hit the next batter to load the bases, but Berg entered and got pinch-hitter Dante Flores to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat. Berg then pitched a scoreless ninth inning to secure the sweep for the Bruins.
Kramer led the UCLA offense today, going 3-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Valaika also had a multi-hit game, posting a 2-4 day with two RBI and a walk. Finally, Hazard reached base in three of his four plate appearances today, drawing two walks and going 1-2 with a run.
UCLA (37-15, 20-7 Pac-12) will play its final regular season home game of the year on Tuesday night, hosting the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (31-22) at 6 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Game Notes: The Bruins extended their winning streak over the Trojans to eight games and swept the season series with their crosstown rivals for the second consecutive year...UCLA has also won 23 of the last 28 meetings with USC...the Bruins have swept their last three Pac-12 series and will enter the final weekend of conference play tied for second with Oregon and two games back of Oregon State for first...UCLA has won 20 conference games for the second year in a row...in his last 18 games, Kevin Kramer is batting .338 with 15 runs and 13 RBI while slugging .459 and posting an on-base percentage of .395...Eric Filia and Kramer both extended their career-high hitting streaks to 12 games...David Berg extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 34.2 straight innings...as mentioned above, Berg broke the UCLA record for most saves in a single-season, surpassing Scott Griggs' 15 saves from last year...Pat Valaika has reached base safely in 23 of his last 24 games while Filia has reached base safely in 18 straight games...Grant Watson improved to 14-4 as a starter with the win today...UCLA's pitchers have now held their opponent to two runs or fewer in 24 of the team's 52 games this year.