April 28, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Cody Keefer went 3-for-4 and Beau Amaral went 2-for-4 with two runs to lead the No. 12 UCLA baseball team past Stanford, 7-4, before 1,608 at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Nick Vander Tuig (5-3) earned the victory, helping the Bruins (28-11, 12-8 Pac-12) even the three-game Pac-12 series against the visting Cardinal (27-11, 9-8).
Sunday's rubber match between UCLA and Stanford will begin at 1 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
An efficient performance from Vander Tuig, combined with four runs in the bottom of the first inning, helped UCLA keep pace in the close-knit Pac-12 standings. The Bruins (12-8) trail Arizona (12-6) and Oregon (13-7) in the conference standings.
UCLA right-hander Scott Griggs logged his team-leading ninth save, recording the final three outs in the ninth inning despite issuing three walks.
Vander Tuig, a right-hander from Oakdale, Calif., allowed just two runs over the first five innings before surrendering back-to-back homers with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. He finished the afternoon having allowed four runs and six hits in 5.2 innings, collecting five strikeouts and issuing just one walk.
Stanford left-hander Brett Mooneyham (5-4) was tagged with the loss, allowing six runs and four hits in four-plus innings. Mooneyham recorded seven strikeouts and issued four walks, three of the free passes coming in UCLA's four-run first inning.
Stephen Piscotty led Stanford at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two walks. Brian Ragira went 2-for-4 with one double and two RBI.
The Cardinal jumped ahead, 2-0, with a two-run, two-out double hit by Ragira in the top of the first. UCLA responded with four runs in the bottom half of the inning, taking advantage of three walks, one hit-by-pitch and a key single up the middle by Trevor Brown.
UCLA added two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend its margin to 6-2. The Bruins loaded the bases with nobody out to open the inning, before Keefer lined a run-scoring single to left field to plate Kevin Williams. Brown followed by drawing a bases-loaded walk with one out, allowing Amaral to score.
Consecutive two-out solo home runs from Austin Wilson and Danny Diekroeger in the top of the sixth inning reduced UCLA's lead to 6-4.
The Bruins added one run in the bottom of the seventh on Jeff Gelalich's RBI-single to right field.
Stanford loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, drawing three consecutive two-out walks issued by Griggs. Alex Blandino struck out on a ball in the dirt to end the game.
UCLA and Stanford conclude their three-game Pac-12 series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 16 and under). Youth baseball players (ages 13 and under) who wear their Little League jerseys to Sunday's game will be admitted for free at the main entrance. Little League coaches will have to wear their jersey to earn free admission (coach cannot be a high school or junior college student).
Game Notes: Cody Keefer tallied his team-leading 18th multiple-hit effort on Saturday afternoon, going 3-for-4 ... UCLA stands just one game shy of first-place Arizona in the Pac-12 standings - the Bruins have gone 12-8 while Arizona has posted a 12-6 record (Oregon is percentage points behind Arizona, at 13-7) ... three UCLA relief pitchers limited Stanford to two hits over 3.1 innings ... Scott Griggs' nine saves this season are tied for fourth-most on UCLA's single-season saves list (Nick Vander Tuig had nine in 2011, Gabe Sollecito had nine in 1993) ... Trevor Brown made a sensational play at first base in the top of the eighth, turning a 3-6-3 double play with no outs and one runner at first base.