March 10, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 16 UCLA baseball team won its ninth consecutive game Saturday afternoon, notching a 7-6 victory at No. 9 Georgia before 2,255 at Foley Field.
Jeff Gelalich led the Bruins (11-3) with a 3-for-4 effort, as UCLA overcame an early 3-0 deficit to secure the series victory.
Trailing 3-0 after Georgia plated three runs in the third inning, UCLA tied the game with a three-run fifth. The Bruins pushed ahead with one run in the sixth, before the Bulldogs (11-4) evened the score, 4-4, with one in the seventh.
UCLA claimed a 6-4 cushion in the top of the eighth, and Georgia responded with one run in the bottom of the inning. Trailing 6-5, the Bulldogs left the bases loaded in the eighth, as UCLA closer Scott Griggs struck out Kyle Farmer on three pitches to end the inning.
Each team scored one run in the ninth. Keck doubled down the left field line in the top of the inning and scored on a two-out RBI-single to right field by Tyler Heineman.
Georgia threatened in the bottom of the frame, scoring one run on a two-out, two-strike wild pitch before Griggs induced a groundout on a full count from pinch-hitter Kevin Ruiz with the potential tying run at third base. Griggs recorded his fourth save of the season, allowing one run and one hit in 1.1 innings.
Ryan Deeter (1-0) earned his first career victory, allowing one unearned run and three hits in one inning of relief. Deeter escaped a two-out jam in the bottom of the seventh by striking out Georgia's Hunter Cole.
Michael Palazzone (0-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs (one earned) and four hits in two innings out of the bullpen. Palazzone pitched in relief of starter Pete Nagel, who allowed three runs (one earned) and three hits through the first five innings.
UCLA snapped a 4-4 tie in the top of the eighth by taking advantage of back-to-back Georgia errors. Beau Amaral reached second base on a hard-hit groundball that ricocheted off second baseman Nelson Ward and bounced into right field. An errant throw to first by Palazzone on Heineman's ensuing sacrifice bunt allowed Amaral to score and Heineman to reach second. Keefer's base-hit to right field scored Heineman.
Bruins' starter Nick Vander Tuig did not earn a decision, allowing four runs and six hits in six-plus innings. After making 68 pitches through the first three frames, Vander Tuig needed just 34 pitches from the fourth through sixth innings. He allowed just one baserunner through the middle three frames.
Johnathan Hester led Georgia at the plate with a 3-for-5 effort and one RBI. Farmer was the only other Bulldogs' hitter to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and one run.
UCLA and Georgia conclude their three-game series Sunday at 10 a.m. (PT)/1 p.m. (ET).
Game Notes: UCLA earned its third consecutive series victory with Saturday's 7-6 win ... the Bruins' streak of consecutive scoreless innings on the mound ended at 25.1, when Georgia scored with no outs in the bottom of the third inning - the streak dated back to UCLA's 11-2 win over Sacramento State on Sunday, March 4 ... Tyler Heineman, Jeff Gelalich and Cody Keefer have reached base safely in each of UCLA's 14 games ... Gelalich pushed his team-leading batting average to .500 (25-for-50) with a 3-for-4 effort ... Gelalich has batted .778 (7-for-8) in two games at Georgia this weekend and recorded his ninth multiple-hit game in 14 contests ... Chris Keck collected his first collegiate hit in the fifth inning.