May 18, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif. - The eighth-ranked UCLA Baseball team claimed a 7-6 victory over crosstown rivals USC on Saturday afternoon to clinch its sixth consecutive weekend series win. Sophomore David Berg pitched 2.1 innings in relief to earn his 15th save of the year, which ties the UCLA single-season record for saves.
Junior right-hander Nick Vander Tuig earned the win to move to 10-3 on the year, tossing six innings and giving up three runs on three hits while striking out five and walking two. Nigel Nootbaar took the loss for the Trojans after allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits while walking five.
Both sides were held scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when the Trojans scored three runs off of Vander Tuig. After a leadoff walk to Garrett Stubbs, Adam Landecker doubled to put runners on second and third. James Roberts then hit a sacrifice fly to left to give USC a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Kevin Swick scored Landecker with another sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 in favor of the Trojans. Then with Bobby Stahel at the plate, Vander Tuig threw two wild pitches to bring around Greg Zebrack from second, giving USC a three-run lead.
UCLA battled back though and got two runs in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one. Junior Pat Gallagher and senior Cody Regis both walked to start the inning, but a 3-6-1 double play made it two outs with a runner on third. The Bruins would not be denied though, as junior Brian Carroll singled home Gallagher and then advanced to third on an error by Zebrack in right field. The next batter was sophomore Kevin Kramer, who singled to right on the first pitch, plating Carroll and making it 3-2.
Vander Tuig kept the Trojans off the board in the fifth and sixth innings, and then in the seventh the Bruins took the lead for good with a five-run frame. With one out, junior Brenton Allen walked and Carroll reached on an error to put runners at first and second. Nootbaar exited and in came Marc Huberman, who walked Kramer to load the bases. Sophomore Eric Filia then came up and laced a double down the right field line, clearing the bases and giving UCLA a 5-3 lead. Junior Pat Valaika singled home Filia in the next at-bat and three batters later, Regis came to the plate for the second time in the inning and drew a bases loaded walk, scoring Valaika and giving the Bruins a four-run lead.
The Trojans came back in the bottom half of the inning though, scoring three runs to cut UCLA's lead to one. With runners on first and second and one out, Timmy Robinson singled to left off of freshman Cody Poteet to make it 7-4 Bruins. Junior Zack Weiss then came in, and after a walk loaded the bases he hit Landecker with a pitch, bringing home Blake Lacey and making it 7-5. Roberts hit another sacrifice fly in the next at-bat to cut the Bruins' lead to 7-6, but Berg came in out of the bullpen and got Zebrack to ground out to short, ending the threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, Berg hit Bobby Stahel with one out and then balked him over to second, putting the tying run in scoring position. He would recover though, getting back-to-back groundouts to short to get out of the inning unscathed. Berg then finished the job in the ninth by pitching a scoreless frame to secure the 7-6 win for the Bruins.
Valaika led the Bruins at the plate by going 2-5 with a RBI and a run. Filia matched a career-high with three RBI while going 1-3 with a run and two walks. Carroll, Kramer and Regis each recorded a RBI as well.
UCLA (36-15, 19-7 Pac-12) and USC (19-32, 10-16 Pac-12) will wrap up their three-game set tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. Sophomore left-hander Grant Watson (5-3, 3.49 ERA) will start the finale for the Bruins.
Game Notes: UCLA won its fifth consecutive Pac-12 series over the Trojans...the Bruins have also now won 22 of the last 27 meetings with USC, including the last seven...UCLA extended its Pac-12 winning streak to eight games...David Berg extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 33.1 straight innings without giving up a run and lowered his ERA to 0.60...Berg tied Scott Griggs (2012) for the most saves in a single-season...this was the longest outing for Berg this season in which he recorded a save...in his last six starts, Nick Vander Tuig is 6-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 33 strikeouts to just six walks...Vander Tuig has now equaled his win total from last year (went 10-4 last year)...in Pac-12 play, Vander Tuig is 7-1 in nine starts with a 1.84 ERA...the Bruins are now 14-1 in one-run games...UCLA matched a season-high by drawing 10 walks today...Pat Valaika recorded his team-leading 16th multi-hit game of the year...Kevin Kramer and Eric Filia each extended their career-long hitting streaks to 11 games.