March 18, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The No. 9 UCLA baseball team earned a Pac-12 series victory against Arizona State with a 4-2 win in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday evening at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Grant Watson (5-0) limited the visiting Sun Devils (12-7, 1-2 Pac-12) to two runs and four hits in six-plus innings, recording his team-leading fifth victory of the season. UCLA's 12-game winning streak was snapped earlier in the day with a 4-3 loss to ASU.
Griggs logged two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to register his fifth save.
"Grant did an unbelievable job for us today," catcher Tyler Heineman said. "He has no fear on the mound, which is rare for a freshman. He pounded the strike zone early and got ahead of hitters."
Eric Filia-Snyder led UCLA at the plate, going 2-for-3 with one run. Beau Amaral reached safely in each of his five plate appearances, going 1-for-1 with two walks, two hit-by-pitches, one run and one RBI.
Alex Blackford (0-2) absorbed the loss for Arizona State, allowing three runs off two hits and three walks in 1.1 innings as the Sun Devils' starter. Three relief pitchers held UCLA to one run and six hits through the final 6.2 innings.
UCLA claimed a 3-0 lead in the second inning, taking advantage of two singles and two walks. With one out and the bases loaded, Amaral grounded a single to left field, sending home Filia-Snyder. A wild pitch allowed each baserunner to advance 90 feet, scoring Pat Valaika. Heineman's groundout scored Kevin Williams.
Arizona State sliced the Bruins' cushion to 3-2 with a two-run fourth inning. With runners at first and second, Abe Ruiz belted a double to center field, scoring Deven Marrero from first base. Trever Allen followed with a run-scoring groundout, allowing Joey DeMichele to score from third.
"It's huge to win two of three games in a Pac-12 series, especially against a talented team like Arizona State," Heineman said. "We played three close games against them. Those games will help make a team stay sharp. Every play is important, and you cannot take a pitch or an at-bat for granted."
UCLA returns to action against Washington State on Friday, March 23. Game time of the Pac-12 series opener at Jackie Robinson Stadium is 6 p.m.
Game Notes: UCLA's pitching staff limited Arizona State to 15 hits in 27.0 innings during the three-game series (.163 batting average) ... Grant Watson pitched in three of UCLA's last four games, earning the victory as the starting pitcher last Tuesday and in Sunday's second ballgame ... Watson has gone 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 32.2 innings ... last week, Watson allowed three runs and 11 hits in 13.0 innings, posting a 2-0 record and 2.08 ERA ... Ryan Deeter lowered his earned-run average to a team-leading 0.77 mark ... UCLA's hitters posted a .318 batting average in the series against ASU, raising its season average to .318 ... Trevor Brown finished the week going 8-for-16 with two doubles, three runs and two RBI in four games.