May 25, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Beau Amaral went 2-for-3 with a key two-run single in the second inning as the No. 9 UCLA baseball team defeated crosstown rival USC, 3-1, in a Pac-12 game before 1,351 at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday night.
UCLA (40-14, 18-10) has won 17 of its last 22 games against USC (23-30, 8-20).
The Bruins moved within one game of conference leaders Oregon and Arizona, both 19-9 in Pac-12 play, in the top-heavy conference standings. In addition, UCLA reached the 40-win plateau for the second time in the last three years and for the eighth time in program history.
Adam Plutko (9-3) earned his fourth consecutive win, limiting USC (23-30, 8-20) to one run and four hits in six innings. The sophomore right-hander from Upland, Calif., recorded two strikeouts and walked five batters.
Scott Griggs logged three strikeouts in the top of the ninth inning to secure his 15th save.
USC's Ben Mount (1-8) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings.
The Trojans received two hits each from Kevin Roundtree (2-for-5) and Brandon Garcia (2-for-4).
UCLA claimed a 2-0 advantage on Amaral's two-run, two-out single in the bottom of the second. With one out in the inning, Valaika drew a walk and advanced to second base on Regis' single to right field. Kevin Kramer drew a two-out walk before Amaral stepped to the plate and lined a two-run base-hit to right field.
USC scored one run in the top of the third inning and stranded two runners on base in the top of the third inning. Andres Rodriguez led off with a single to left field, moved to third base on Kevin Roundtree's single to center, and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Garret Houts.
The Bruins added one run in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Keefer lined a run-scoring single to right field, sending home Amaral from second base with one out.
UCLA returns to action against USC at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Game time is 2 p.m. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 16 and under).
Game Notes: UCLA improved its record to 13-5 in games decided by two runs or fewer ... the Bruins have won 17 of their last 22 games against USC ... David Berg pitched in his 16th consecutive game, recording a 1-2-3 seventh inning, before Ryan Deeter logged a 1-2-3 eighth inning ... Berg improved upon his school record-leading total of 41 single-season appearances ... Scott Griggs also improved upon his school record-leading total of 15 single-season saves ... Griggs moved into a tie for third place on UCLA's career saves list (15) ... Oregon and Arizona are tied for the Pac-12 lead, both with 19-9 conference records ... UCLA remains one game behind Oregon and Arizona, at third place in the standings ... Jeff Gelalich has reached base safely in each of UCLA's last 16 Pac-12 games.