In a game that was dominated by both teams' pitching staffs, the No. 21 UCLA Baseball team earned a 1-0 extra-inning victory over Long Beach State on Friday night at Blair Field. Freshman Kort Peterson scored the game-winning run in the top of the 11th on a throwing error by Long Beach catcher Daniel Jackson.
Freshman Nick Kern (1-0) earned his first collegiate victory with a scoreless inning in relief while Ty Provencher (4-5) took the loss for the Dirtbags, giving up a run in the 11th. Junior David Berg notched his second straight save and ninth of the season with a scoreless bottom of the 11th.
Sophomore James Kaprielian started the game for the Bruins, earning a no-decision despite not allowing a run in nine innings pitched. Kaprielian also struck out three and surrendered just three hits. Andrew Rohrbach started the game for Long Beach State, scattering five hits in eight scoreless innings.
Pitching was the story early on as both Kaprielian and Rohrbach held the opposing offense scoreless through the first four innings. In the top of the fifth, UCLA threatened starting when freshman Luke Persico singled to lead off the inning. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then with two outs, sophomore Trent Chatterton stepped in. Chatterton smacked what looked to be a single up the middle, but Long Beach shortstop Garrett Hampson made a diving stop to keep the ball in the infield and hold Persico at third. Rohrbach then was able to get a groundout on the very next pitch to end the inning.
Both sides failed to score for the next two innings but UCLA again put something together in the top of the eighth. Chatterton led off with a double to left and moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Chris Keck. Senior Brian Carroll then drew a hit by pitch to put runners on first and third with one out. The next batter was sophomore Christoph Bono, who chopped a ball back to the mound. The ball deflected off of Rohrbach’s glove and straight to Hampson at short, who promptly barehanded the ball and threw out Chatterton at home to keep the game scoreless. Junior Shane Zeile then flew out to right in the next at-bat and the Bruins failed to score.
While Kaprielian continued to set the Dirtbags down, the Bruins continued to threaten, putting runners on first and second with one out in the top of the ninth in the form of Persico and Peterson. However, back-to-back groundouts from senior Pat Gallagher and Chatterton once again ended the inning with no runs for UCLA. Kaprielian retired the Long Beach side in order in the ninth and the two sides went to extra innings.
The Bruins then finally broke through in the 11th inning with a run. Peterson drew a hit by pitch to lead off the frame before stealing second and moving to third on a passed ball. Eventually he came around to score on a play where Chatterton faked like he was going to steal second, drawing a throw from Jackson behind the plate. Jackson’s throw bounced to second, where nobody was covering, allowing Peterson to score on the play and giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the 11th, Long Beach State got back-to-back singles with two outs to put runners at first and third, but Berg worked back on a 3-1 count to strike out Richard Prigatano to seal the victory for the Bruins.
Carroll, Zeile, Persico and Chatterton each had two hits apiece to lead the Bruins while Michael Hill led the Dirtbags with a two-hit effort.
UCLA (18-10) and Long Beach State (13-15) will move their series up to Jackie Robinson Stadium tomorrow as the two sides will play the second game of their weekend set at 2 p.m. Junior Grant Watson (4-2) will take the mound for the Bruins.
Game Notes: The last time UCLA played a game in which neither team scored through the first nine innings was March 4, 2011 when the Bruins beat Nebraska 1-0 in 11 innings…James Kaprielian and Nick Kern combined to not allow a Long Beach State base runner to reach second base through the first 10 innings…Kaprielian’s nine innings were a new career-long…with Brian Carroll’s hit by pitch in the eighth inning, UCLA has now had at least one batter get hit by a pitch in eight straight games and has had 21 total batters get hit in those eight games…Carroll has also now logged three multi-hit games in his last four contests…the Bruins improved to 8-1 in their last nine extra-inning games…UCLA has also now won its 17 games away from Jackie Robinson Stadium.