April 24, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Beau Amaral went 2-for-5 with one triple and two RBI to lead the No. 12 UCLA baseball team past UC Irvine, 9-3, in a non-conference game Tuesday night at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Jeff Gelalich went 3-for-5 with one RBI and one run as UCLA (27-10) recorded its 14th consecutive non-conference victory. The Bruins improved their record in midweek contests to 7-0.
UC Irvine (20-17) claimed a 2-0 lead in the first inning before UCLA tied the ballgame, 2-2, with two runs in the bottom of the second. The visiting Anteaters led 3-2 after four innings, but the Bruins broke through with a four-run fifth before adding three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Five UCLA relief pitchers combined for five shutout innings, scattering two hits, and closer Scott Griggs notched three strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning.
Chase Brewer (2-0) picked up the victory in relief, allowing one hit in a scoreless fifth inning.
Jimmy Litchfield (2-2) absorbed the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) and four hits in 1.2 innings of relief.
UCLA's four-run fifth inning began with four plays on the infield that led to four runs. Kevin Williams and Amaral opened the frame with consecutive bunt singles. Pat Valaika reached second base safely after his sacrifice bunt was overthrown by third baseman Taylor Sparks, sending home Williams. Cody Keefer was safe at first on an infield single and took second base on a throwing error by shortstop D.J. Crumlich, which allowed Amaral and Valaika to score. Gelalich's base-hit to right field pushed Keefer to third, and Cody Regis' sacrifice fly to center field sent home Keefer.
The Bruins added three runs in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI-single from Gelalich, followed by two consecutive hit batsmen with the bases loaded, scoring Keefer and Gelalich.
UCLA's bullpen allowed just two baserunners in the final four innings.
Jeff Stephens led UC Irvine at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one run, and Connor Spencer went 1-for-4 with two RBI.
UCLA starting pitcher Grant Watson allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits in four innings.
The Bruins return to action against No. 13 Stanford, opening a three-game Pac-12 series at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday, April 27. Game time of the series opener is 6 p.m. The Bruins and Cardinal resume their series on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Game Notes: UCLA has gone 7-0 in midweek games this season, posting a 16-3 record in non-conference action ... Beau Amaral has reached base safely in each of the Bruins' last 23 games ... UCLA pounded out 12 hits and improved its overall mark to 25-3 when out-hitting its opponent this spring ... Grant Watson has gone 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA in 31.2 innings through seven midweek starts ... the top four hitters in UCLA's batting lineup went a combined 8-for-18 (.444) with four RBI and six runs against UC Irvine.