April 13, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. - The No. 17 UCLA baseball team lost the series-opening game at No. 4 Arizona, 4-3, before 4,080 at Hi Corbett Field on Friday evening. Tyler Heineman led the Bruins with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate.
Arizona right-hander Kurt Heyer (6-1) limited the Bruins (22-8, 8-5 Pac-12) to three runs and eight hits in a complete game effort to secure his sixth win of the season.
The host Wildcats (24-9, 10-3 Pac-12) scored one run in the bottom of the eighth inning, snapping a 3-3 tie, and held on for the victory in the top of the ninth.
UCLA's Chris Keck lined a two-out, two-strike pinch-hit single into the gap in right-center field on the game's final at-bat and was thrown out attempting to advance to second base.
UCLA right-hander David Berg (4-1) absorbed the loss in relief, allowing one unearned run and one hit in two innings. Starting pitcher Adam Plutko allowed three runs and 11 hits in six innings and issued two walks.
Arizona's Joseph Maggi reached second base with one out in the bottom of the eighth on a throwing error by shortstop Pat Valaika. Pinch-runner Brandon Dixon scored from second base on a run-scoring single into right field by Joey Rickard on the next at-bat. Berg made two fantastic defensive plays on the next two at-bats to end the inning.
Four Arizona hitters each tallied two hits, as all but one Wildcat in the starting lineup finished with one hit.
Friday's game marked UCLA's first road loss of the season. The Bruins opened the year with eight consecutive wins away from home (7-0 on the road, 1-0 at neutral site games).
In a closely-contested ballgame, UCLA took the game's first lead with two runs in the top of the fourth. With two outs and nobody on base, Cody Keefer lined a double to center field and scored on Trevor Brown's two-out single up the middle. With runners on the corners, Heyer was called for a balk, allowing Jeff Gelalich to score.
Arizona tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. The inning featured a sacrifice fly from Riley Moore and a two-out double down the right field line by Joseph Maggi, scoring Trent Gilbert from second base.
The Wildcats claimed a 3-2 lead with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. With Johnny Field at first base, Seth Mejias-Brean bounced a single up the middle that bounced off Valaika's glove as the shortstop reached for the ball. Bobby Brown followed with a flare single to center field, allowing Field to score from third base.
UCLA tied the game with two outs in the sixth inning. Gelalich scored from third base and Amaral advanced from second to third on a passed ball by catcher Riley Moore.
The Bruins resume their three-game series against Arizona on Saturday at 6 p.m. Fans can listen to a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com.
Game Notes: Beau Amaral extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games with a bunt single in the top of the sixth inning ... Amaral's hitting streak is the longest by any UCLA player since 2005, when Chris Jensen compiled a 19-game hitting streak ... Tyler Heineman pushed his hitting streak to 12 games, marking his second 12-game streak of the season ... Heineman's 3-for-4 effort pushed his batting average to a team-leading .426 mark (.511 in Pac-12 games).