May 22, 2012
IRVINE, Calif. - Grant Watson allowed one run and five hits in six innings to secure his team-leading ninth win, leading the No. 9 UCLA baseball team past UC Irvine, 6-2, before 1,750 at Anteater Ballpark on Tuesday night.
Watson (9-2) tied the school record for most single-season wins by a freshman. The left-hander from Bakersfield, Calif., had one strikeout and one walk in his team-leading 15th start.
UCLA (39-14) collected its 11th victory in 13 games, improving its record on the road and at neutral sites to 20-4. The Bruins finished their midweek slate with an 11-0 record and have gone 9-0 against Big West Conference teams.
Evan Brock (1-1) was tagged with the loss for UC Irvine (30-23), allowing three runs and three hits in five innings.
UCLA relief pitcher David Berg set the Bruins' single-season appearances record, pitching in his 40th game. The freshman right-hander, making his 15th consecutive relief appearance, recorded three outs in a scoreless eighth inning.
The Bruins jumped to a 3-0 lead with two outs in the top of the first. Heineman singled to right field and advanced to second on a fielding error, before Jeff Gelalich drew a two-out intentional walk. Brown followed with a two-run double to left field before scoring from second base on Valaika's single through the left side.
UC Irvine received a solo homer from Chris Rabago to lead off the bottom of the third inning, trimming UCLA's advantage to 3-1.
The Bruins extended their margin to 6-1 with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. Trevor Brown lined a run-scoring double down the right field line to send home Cody Keefer, and Pat Valaika plated Brown with a single up the middle.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, UC Irvine scored one run on a double down the right field line by D.J. Crumlich before UCLA's Zack Ortiz induced a game-ending flyout by Jordan Fox.
UCLA concludes its regular season against USC at Jackie Robinson Stadium this season. The three-game Pac-12 series begins Friday at 6 p.m. Saturday's game is at 2 p.m. and Sunday's series finale is at 1 p.m.
Game Notes: Grant Watson tied UCLA's single-season freshman wins record (9) with Trevor Bauer (nine wins in 2009) and Pete Janicki (nine wins in 1990) ... David Berg's 40 appearances this season have established a new UCLA single-season appearances record, previously held by Dan Klein (39 in 2010) and Bruce Baranick (39 in 1972) ... UCLA enters the final weekend of the regular season two games behind first-place Oregon (19-8) and one game behind second-place Arizona (18-9), currently tied for third place in the Pac-12 standings with Stanford and Arizona State (17-10) ... Madison Poole needed just seven pitches to record three quick outs in a hitless seventh inning ... Trevor Brown has gone 12-for-21 (.571) with 10 runs and five RBI in UCLA's last five games.