The 25th-ranked UCLA Baseball team clinched the series victory over California, defeating the Golden Bears by a score of 3-1 at Evans Diamond on Saturday night. Junior Grant Watson (3-1) was phenomenal on the mound for the Bruins, earning the win by giving up just one run on two hits in eight innings of work. Watson also struck out four batters on the evening. Junior David Berg picked up his second save in as many nights with a scoreless ninth inning to record his fifth save of the year.
Kyle Porter dropped to 2-1 after taking the loss for California. Porter gave up three runs on five hits in 6.1 innings pitched while striking out three.
For the second straight night, the Golden Bears took the early lead as they put a run across in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Robbie Tenerowicz hit a solo shot to left-center off of Watson to give California a 1-0 advantage. The lead would be short-lived though, as the Bruins tied things up in the top of the third. With two outs and sophomore Trent Chatterton on first, senior Brian Carroll kept the inning alive by hustling down the line and legging out an infield single to first. Sophomore Christoph Bono then stepped in and continued his hot hitting at the plate, knocking in Chatterton with a single up the middle to tie the game at 1-1.
Both Porter and Watson would preserve the tie for the next three innings, keeping both opposing offenses off the board. UCLA would break the tie in the top of the seventh though, starting when freshman Luke Persico drew a leadoff walk. Senior Kevin Williams then stepped up to the plate looking to bunt. Williams got the count to 3-2 and then took a Porter pitch to the opposite field in left for his first home run of the year, giving UCLA a 3-1 lead over the Golden Bears.
That would be all the run support that Watson would need, as he retired the California side in both the seventh and eighth innings. Berg then closed door on the Golden Bears in the ninth and UCLA went home with the 3-1 victory.
Williams led the Bruins with his two RBI while Persico reached base in two of his four plate appearances, adding a run as well.
UCLA (11-7, 2-0) and California (10-7, 0-2) will wrap up their three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Cody Poteet will take the mound for the Bruins and the game will be broadcast live by the Pac-12 Networks.
Game Notes: Christoph Bono extended his hitting streak to a career-high six games with his 1-4 game…Bono has also now logged at least one RBI in his last six games…Grant Watson retired 16 straight batters from the end of the second inning to the start of the eighth inning and allowed just two California base runners through the first seven innings…Watson also improved his career record as a starter to 21-5 with his victory tonight…in his last three starts, Watson has pitched a combined 22 innings while posting a 0.82 ERA…Brian Carroll has now reached base safely in his last 14 games…UCLA’s six hits in the ballgame were recorded by six different Bruin hitters…the Bruins extended their road and neutral site winning streak to 13 consecutive games dating back to last year…UCLA improved to 50-0 in the last two seasons when leading after seven innings…the Bruins are also now 9-1 on the year when outhitting their opponent.