No. 23 UCLA Baseball Defeats Long Beach State, 6-4
April 12, 2011
LOS ANGELES - The No. 23 UCLA baseball team jumped to a 5-0 lead through four innings and held on to defeat Long Beach State, 6-4, in a non-conference game at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Right-hander Zack Weiss (2-1) picked up the victory and struck out five batters with no walks, scattering two hits through five scoreless innings. Right-hander Nick Vander Tuig entered in the eighth inning and notched the final four outs to secure his fourth save of the season. Vander Tuig struck out one batter in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
UCLA (17-11) collected its ninth victory in its last 13 games.
Chris Giovinazzo led the Bruins with a 3-for-5 effort, belting one home run and one double. Dean Espy went 3-for-4 with two runs, Cody Keefer went 2-for-4 with a game-high three RBI, and Pat Valaika went 2-for-3.
Long Beach State (16-15) was led at the plate by Ino Patron, who went 2-for-3 with one run. 49ers left-hander Jake Stassi (0-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs and five hits in two innings.
The Bruins pounded out 13 hits in the ballgame, racing to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Giovinazzo led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run to left-center field, his second round-tripper of the season. Beau Amaral followed with a single to left field and moved to second base on a bunt single by Espy. Both baserunners advanced 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by Cody Regis. A two-out triple to the gap in right-center field by Keefer scored Amaral and Espy.
The Bruins scored one run in the bottom of the fifth, increasing their cushion to 4-0. After reaching on a throwing error by 49ers second baseman Matt Duffy, Amaral advanced to third base on a double down the left-field line by Espy. A sacrifice fly to deep left field by Regis scored Amaral.
Long Beach State scored four runs, all with one out, in the top of the sixth to cut the Bruins' advantage to 5-4. The visiting 49ers reached base safely via hit, walk or hit by pitch on seven consecutive at-bats after Weiss had exited the ballgame. Mike Marjama lined a run-scoring single up the middle, pinch-hitter Johnny Bekakis had a run-scoring single to right field, and Juan Avila drew a bases-loaded walk. Kirk Singer followed with an RBI-single to center field before Scott Griggs retired the final two hitters of the inning on a strikeout and flyout.
Bruins' second baseman Trevor Brown provided the defensive play of the game with a diving attempt up the middle to help turn an inning-ending double play in the top of the seventh. Marjama bounced a sharp groundball up the middle that nicked Griggs on the mound before Brown smothered the ball behind second base. From the ground, he flipped the ball to Valaika, who fired to Espy at first to end the inning.
UCLA added one run in the seventh inning to push its lead to 6-4. Regis led off with a single to right field, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Valaika and scored as Keefer drove a double down the right-field line.
The Bruins return to Jackie Robinson Stadium this Friday, opening a three-game Pac-10 series against No. 20 Arizona (22-11, 4-5 Pac-10). Game time Friday is 6 p.m. The Bruins and Wildcats continue their series on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission to each game this weekend costs $7 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 16 and under).
Game Notes: Cody Regis went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt, extending his hitting streak to a team-leading nine games, and has hit safely in 13 of the team's last 14 games ... Regis has batted at a .360 clip through the Bruins last 14 contests ... Zack Weiss secured his first victory as a starting pitcher, lowering his ERA to a 2.73 mark ... UCLA's 13 hits were the fourth most by the Bruins in one game this season ... Dean Espy and Cody Keefer each recorded their team-leading ninth multiple-hit games of the season - Espy tallied his second three-hit effort of the year ... Cody Keefer notched his first multiple-RBI game of the season ... UCLA improved its record to 3-2 in midweek contests.
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