The 25th-ranked UCLA Baseball team opened up Pac-12 play with a 3-2 victory over California on Friday night at Evans Diamond in Berkeley, Calif. Sophomore Christoph Bono drove in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth with a double to left-center that scored sophomore Trent Chatterton.
Sophomore James Kaprielian picked up the win for the Bruins, tossing eight innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits while striking out five. Trevor Hildenberger took the loss for California after allowing a run in one inning of relief. Junior David Berg earned his fourth save of the year for UCLA with a 1-2-3 ninth inning while Daulton Jefferies started the game for the Golden Bears and allowed two runs on five hits in 4.1 innings pitched.
The Golden Bears grabbed the early advantage in the bottom of the first, starting when Vince Bruno and Devon Rodriguez hit back-to-back singles to put runners at first and third with one out. Kaprielian got the next batter to pop out but ran into some bad luck on the next at-bat when Nick Halamandaris hit a one-hopper that hit the umpire at second and bounced away from Chatterton at short. Bruno was able to score on the play and California took a 1-0 lead.
The lead would not last long though as junior Shane Zeile continued his hot start to the season, tying things up in the top of the third with a RBI single. After Bono doubled to right with two outs, Zeile stepped in and laced a single back up the middle to even the game.
Kaprielian settled down after a tough first inning, allowing just California one base runner through the next three innings. Sophomore Ty Moore then gave the Bruins the lead in the top of the fifth, scoring senior Brian Carroll from third with an infield single to second to make it 2-1 UCLA. After a scoreless sixth, California tied things up again in the bottom of the seventh. Chris Paul doubled to left with one out and on the next at-bat was brought home by a Brenden Farney single to make it 2-2.
The two teams remained deadlocked going to the ninth, but in the top half of the inning UCLA took back the lead with a run. Chatterton led off the inning by reaching on an error before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Chris Keck. Two batters later, Bono drove in Chatterton with a double to the left-center gap, putting the Bruins ahead by one.
Berg then came in and shut the door on the Golden Bears, pitching a scoreless ninth to seal the 3-2 win.
Overall, Moore led the Bruins at the plate with a three-hit game and a RBI while Bono added two doubles and a RBI of his own.
UCLA (10-7, 1-0) will continue its three-game set with California (10-6, 0-1) tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at Evans Diamond. Junior left-hander Grant Watson will take the mound for the Bruins.
Game Notes: UCLA has now won 49 of its last 51 games when holding opponents to three runs or less…Christoph Bono matched a career-high by hitting safely in his fifth straight game…Bono is also now 8 for his last 17 (.471) and with his two doubles tonight now leads the Bruins with six on the year…Additionally, Bono tied Shane Zeile for the team-lead with his sixth multi-hit game of the year…Shane Zeile has recorded at least one hit in 13 of UCLA’s 17 games thus far, bringing his average to a team-high .383…James Kaprielian retired 14 straight batters at one point during the game…Kaprielian’s eight innings pitched also matched a career-high…Brian Carroll extended his streak of reaching base safely to 13 straight games with his infield single in the fifth…The Bruins recorded six two-out hits in the ballgame...All three of UCLA’s runs in tonight’s game came with two outs...UCLA has now won its last 12 games away from Jackie Robinson Stadium.