The 18th-ranked UCLA Baseball team won its ninth game in its last 10 on Friday night, defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils, 7-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Senior Kevin Williams led the way for UCLA, going 3-3 with a RBI and a run. Junior Shane Zeile and sophomore Christoph Bono followed that up with 2-5 nights that included a RBI apiece.
On the mound, sophomore James Kaprielian picked up his fourth win of the season for UCLA, tossing six innings and striking out a career-high 12. Additionally, he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits in his six innings of work. Brett Lilek took the loss for the Sun Devils, lasting just three innings and giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits.
Arizona State got to Kaprielian early, getting two runs in the top of the first. The Sun Dveils loaded the bases with nobody out on two singles and a walk, bringing up RJ Ybarra. Kaprielian was able to strike out Ybarra, but the next batter was Jake Peevyhouse, who grounded a ball to second that got by freshman Luke Persico, allowing two runners to score.
The Bruins got one back in the bottom half of the first though, as Zeile brought home senior Brian Carroll from second with a RBI single to make it 2-1 Arizona State. Colby Woodmansee hit a solo home run in the top of the second to bring Arizona State’s lead back up to two, but two runs from UCLA in the bottom half of the inning tied things up. After loading the bases with nobody out, sophomore Trent Chatterton hit a grounder to first that allowed Persico to score, cutting the Sun Devil lead to one. Two batters later with the bases loaded again, Bono smacked a single through the left side to bring home senior Pat Gallager to even the game at 3-3.
UCLA then took the lead in the bottom of the third with a run off of Lilek. Sophomore Ty Moore led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch before moving to third on a single by Williams. Eventually Moore came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Gallagher, making it 4-3 in favor of the Bruins. UCLA tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth, as Williams singled home Moore from second off of Eric Melbostad to increase the Bruin lead to two.
The Bruins would open up their lead to four in the bottom of the seventh with two more off of Melbostad. After Williams singled with one out, Gallagher executed a perfect hit and run to move Williams over to third with a single. Chatterton then stepped in and laid down a great safety squeeze to first to score Williams from third to give the Bruins a 6-3 advantage. Junior Chris Keck singled home Gallagher on the next at-bat to make it 7-3 UCLA as the Bruins took their four-run lead to the eighth.
UCLA went on to hold the Sun Devils scoreless for the final two frames and the Bruins claimed a 7-3 win over Arizona State.
The Bruins (16-8, 6-1 Pac-12) and Sun Devils (13-11, 3-4 Pac-12) will continue their three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Junior Grant Watson will take the mound for UCLA.
Game Notes: UCLA’s pitchers struck out 16 Arizona State batters in tonight’s game, the most they have struck out in a game since they struck out 17 Stanford batters on April 22, 2011...the Bruins scored at least one run in six of their eight innings at-bat tonight and had at least batter reach base in seven of those eight innings…despite going 0-3, Trent Chatterton had two RBI in tonight’s game…James Kaprielian’s first seven outs came via the strikeout…the Bruins laid down four successful sacrifice bunts tonight, bringing their season total to 34 through 24 games…this was the fourth consecutive multi-hit game for Shane Zeile and he is now 8 for his last 13 (.615)…Luke Persico reached base safely for the ninth consecutive game…Christoph Bono has now logged at least one RBI in nine of his last 12 games…eight of UCLA’s nine hitters reached base safely at least once in tonight’s ballgame.