After posting a 2-1 series victory versus the Baylor Bears over the weekend, the No. 9/12 UCLA baseball team notched another road win on Tuesday, overpowering the UCSB Gauchos, 12-3.
From Caesar Uyesaka Stadium in Santa Barbara, the Bruins took an early lead and never trailed, improving their record to 5-2 with the walk-away win over their University of California counterparts.
The Gauchos fell to 4-4 with the loss, and will need to go back to the offensive drawing board after managing a mere two earned runs on four hits.
UCLA had another impressive day from its pitching staff, most notably Cody Poteet, a freshman who got his first college start against UCSB.
Poteet went 5.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits before being yanked with a 4-2 lead. Had it not been for an error by second baseman Trent Chatteron in the bottom of the fifth, Poteet may have escaped the inning with only one run against his name.
But in the end, the fielding folly didn’t matter because UCLA continued to build its lead from the plate. In the top of the sixth, the Bruins exploded for seven runs to stretch their advantage to nine, 11-2. During the rally, Chatterton made amends for his error, getting an RBI-knock on a line-drive single to left. The freshman from Garden Grove, Calif. ended up with a solid stat line, finishing the day 3-for-4, including two RBIs, three runs scored and a walk.
With Poteet’s first career win all but sewn up, the UCLA bullpen went to work, shutting down the Gauchos for the last four innings of the game. Hunter Virant, Zack Weiss, Ryan Deeter and David Berg each pitched an inning of relief for the Bruins, combining to allow one run on two hits.
Berg has really been turning heads so far this season, and he had another dominant showing against UCSB. The sophomore right-hander came on in the ninth to close it out, using 10 pitches and two strikeouts to take down the Gauchos 1-2-3.
UCLA has shown an ability to play at an elite level offensively and from the mound, but the Bruins’ success moving forward really comes down to consistency. If UCLA’s offense shows up to play each and every game, there is enough depth and talent in the pitching staff to carry the Bruins to another College World Series berth.
Head coach John Savage now has three days to get his team ready for the next home stand at Jackie Robinson Stadium, a three-game set versus Wright State this weekend. The Raiders (3-3) head to Los Angeles after suffering a series sweep on the road at Clemson. The Tigers outscored WSU by a combined score of 18-3 to improve to 5-1 on the season.
A three-game sweep of the Raiders could go a long way to improve UCLA’s rankings in the national polls, which have slipped following a 4-2 start to the year. First pitch for Friday’s series opener is scheduled for 6 PM PST.
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