For the second straight night, a UCLA pitcher dominated on the mound as junior left-hander Grant Watson threw eight scoreless innings to lead UCLA to a 2-0 victory over No. 6 North Carolina State at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C.
Watson (2-1) allowed just three hits in his eight innings of work, striking out three and walking just one. Carlos Rodon took the loss for the Wolfpack, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits in seven innings pitched. Junior David Berg picked up the save for the second straight night with a scoreless ninth inning.
After a scoreless first inning, UCLA jumped ahead in the bottom of the second with two runs off of Rodon. Sophomore Ty Moore led off the frame with an infield single before freshman Luke Persico reached on an error by Rodon. Sophomore Christoph Bono then got hit by a pitch to load the bases, bringing up Trent Chatterton. Chatterton fought back from a 1-2 count to bring it to 3-2 and then smacked a single down the right field line past a diving Kyle Cavanaugh at first to score Moore and Persico and give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
Watson made that lead stand up for the next four innings, holding the Wolfpack scoreless to keep UCLA’s lead at two. From innings three to six, Watson allowed only one base runner to NC State with that runner reaching via an error. UCLA looked to threaten in the bottom of the sixth, as freshman Brett Stephens and junior Shane Zeile started the inning with back-to-back walks. However, a 4-6-3 double play and a strikeout ended the Bruins’ threat and UCLA’s lead stayed at two.
Watson pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings for the Bruins before giving way to Berg in the ninth. Berg allowed the leadoff runner to reach base on an infield single, but he induced a double play and a strikeout to end the game and hand the Bruins to 2-0 win.
Moore, senior Pat Gallagher and sophomore Trent Chatterton provided the hits for the Bruins while Trea Turner, Jake Fincher, Kyle Cavanaugh and Andrew Knizner each had one hit apiece for the Wolfpack.
UCLA (6-4) wraps up play in the USA Baseball-Irish Classic tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. PT against the Michigan Wolverines (2-7-1). Sophomore Cody Poteet will take the mound for the Bruins.
Game Notes: Grant Watson earned his 20th collegiate victory tonight, bringing his career record to 20-6...Watson’s eight innings pitched were a new career-high…Watson also allowed just two base runners after the third inning, one reaching via an error and the other on a single…Watson retired the leadoff hitter in all eight of his innings pitched and retired the first two batters of the inning in six of his eight innings…UCLA’s batters extended their hit by pitch streak to 10 consecutive games and now have had a total of 19 batters get hit by a pitch in the first 10 games…Brian Carroll has now reached base safely in six straight games…in the last two seasons, UCLA is 46-0 when leading after seven innings…in the last two seasons, the Bruins are also 36-6 when scoring first.