LOS ANGELES — David Berg’s first career save was of the three-inning variety. It sent UCLA to the College World Series last season.
While it wasn’t a postseason performance, Berg faced a tough situation on Saturday afternoon at Dedeaux Field. Facing off with the Bruins’ rival, Berg collected his longest save of the season on Saturday afternoon at Dedeaux Field to give UCLA a 7-6 victory and a Pac-12 series win.
Berg entered in the seventh inning of a 7-6 game with the tying run 90 feet away and quelled the USC rally. The Trojans had scored three runs against relievers Cody Poteet and Zack Weiss to trim away a 7-3 lead.
“It was 7-3 and then all of a sudden it was 7-6. I don’t like using him in the seventh,” UCLA head coach John Savage said, “but we felt with two outs and runners at first and third, we felt we had to go to our guy.”
As he has done all season, Berg shut the door, using his stellar defense to his benefit. With runners on the corners, Berg got one of USC’s hottest hitters, Greg Zebrack, to hit a hard grounder to the hole on the left side where shortstop Pat Valaika made yet another solid play, cutting the ball off and firing to first to nab Zebrack by a step.
USC was able to get the tying run in scoring position in the eighth inning, but Berg was able to induce two more grounders to Valaika, who made a pair of solid plays — charging a slow hopper up the middle and backhanding a short hop in the hole — and UCLA was out of the inning. The sidewinding closer finished off the 2 1/3 innings save for his 15th save of the season tying the UCLA school record that was set last season by Scott Griggs. He also pushed his scoreless streak to 33 1/3 innings, dating back to March 30. Continue reading
LOS ANGELES — It isn’t an otherworldly being the Ghostbusters are chasing. It isn’t a crazed swamp creature that ends up on your front lawn. But the turf monster is something all ballplayers fear for it can strike at any moment and when it does, there’s usually little that can be done.
Even a senior playing a rivalry game on the day of his graduation isn’t immune. The turf monster reared its ugly head and took a bite out of USC second baseman Adam Landecker helping UCLA to a 2-1 victory Friday night at Dedeaux Field.
Landecker became a turf monster victim with two runners on base in the ninth inning of a tie game. The runners took off running as Brent Wheatley delivered a pitch to Kevin Kramer, who hit a hard grounder to Landecker’s right. Landecker slid to stop the ball and tried to pop up to his feet. When he did, a huge sod patch gave way and popped up with him.
The senior appeared to lose his balance as he tried to rise to his feet with the earth giving way while he simultaneously tried to pull the ball from his glove. Instead the ball shot out of his glove to his side. The botch was all speedy pinch runner Brett Urabe needed to get home with the winning run. All-American closer David Berg pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to lower his ERA to 0.63 and record his 14th save of the season. Continue reading
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Kris Bryant’s nation-leading 29th home run and an 11-3, sixth-inning lead were not enough for San Diego on Tuesday night at the Riverside Sports Complex. UC Riverside rallied from an eight-run deficit to take a 12-11 victory in ten innings. And with the win, the Highlanders may have played spoiler for San Diego’s chances to receive an at large selection in the NCAA Tournament.
Devyn Bolasky scored in six consecutive plate appearances, including tallying the game-tying run in the ninth inning and the game-winner in the 10th inning. Continue reading
Photos Courtesy of David Cohen.
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Cal State Northridge brought the tying run to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth inning, but couldn’t get the big hit it needed against UC Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara reliever Greg Mahle wriggled off the hook and the Gauchos (27-21, 12-8) took the series with a 6-2 win Saturday afternoon at Matador Field.
Mahle struck out pinch hitter Kyle Ferramola and got a lineout and a groundout to end the inning. He turned the ball over to Santa Barbara closer Dylan Hecht, who pitched a clean 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out Northridge (30-20, 14-6) and give Robby Nesovic the victory. Nesovic pitched six scoreless innings before being removed after walking the first two batters in the seventh inning.
Photos Courtesy of David Cohen.
UC Santa Barbara busted out with six runs to break a scoreless tie in the ninth inning Friday afternoon at Matador Field. The Gauchos (26-20, 11-8) took a 6-1 win in the series opener at Cal State Northridge in a crucial Big West series for both ball clubs.
After Northridge closer Josh Goossen-Brown got a lineout and allowed a 1-2 single to Tyler Kuresa to start the ninth inning, he lost his control. He threw only one more strike to the final five batters he faced.
Cameron Newell singled on a 3-1 pitch. Marc Venning was hit by a 2-0 pitch, loading the bases. Luke Swenson broke the scoreless tie with a four-pitch walk. Jackson Morrow singled home two runs on a 1-0 pitch and Goossen-Brown hit Joey Epperson with his final pitch in a 2-0 count.
The Gauchos added three more runs after Goossen-Brown’s departure with Brandon Trinkwon delivering a two-run single and coming around to score on a passed ball and a wild pitch. Nate Ring knocked a solo homer in the bottom half of the inning to get the Matadors (30-19, 14-5) on the board, but it was too little, too late. Continue reading
The Texas Longhorns defeated Kansas State on Saturday by a score of 6-3. Leading the Longhorns was Erich Weiss who went 2-4 with two RBI while Dillon Peters got the win pitching 5.1 innings giving up two runs. You can check out a photo gallery below. Continue reading
FULLERTON, Calif. — No. 4 Cal State Fullerton defeated rival Long Beach State, 3-2, behind freshman starter Thomas Eshelman Friday night at Goodwin Field. Eshelman picked up his eighth win of the season, going seven strong innings, including wriggling out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out the side.
In the fifth inning of a 2-1 game, Colton Vaughn led off with a triple that got hung up in the right field corner. Eshelman struck out Colby Brenner but hit Jeff McNeil. After McNeil advanced to second on a wild pitch, Eshelman showed his maturity pitching with an open base.
He attacked Jeff Yamaguchi early in the count getting a 1-2 count. Yamaguchi then spoiled a pair of pitches with foul balls. With two runners on and first base unoccupied, Eshelman was going for the strikeout. He tried to get Yamaguchi to strikeout on a breaking ball in the dirt. Instead of the K, Eshelman threw three consecutive balls, something that’s happened only a handful of times this season. Yamaguchi walked to load the bases for Juan Avila and Ino Patron — two of Long Beach’s hottest hitters.
But they were not hot on this night as Eshleman struck them both out to end the threat and rob the Dirtbags (21-22, 9-7) of a huge opportunity to swipe the momentum. Austin Kingsolver followed with a leadoff home run high off the netting behind the right field fence to put Fullerton (37-7, 13-3) up 3-1. Continue reading
LOS ANGELES — Freshman Cody Poteet pitched a career-high six innings and had a career-high five strikeouts as UCLA took an 8-1 win against UC Irvine Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Kevin Kramer delivered the big blow in a five-run seventh inning that put the game out of reach. After the first three batters singled and Brian Carroll took a bases-loaded walk to bring home a run, Irvine (28-13) went to Sam Moore, its fifth of six pitchers. Kramer greeted the freshman by smacking his second offering toward left-centerfield.
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Jeff McNeil is Mr. Versatilty for Long Beach State. He does a little bit of everything for the Dirtbags(19-21, 8-6), including now taking over the shortstop role after previously playing centerfield and second base. But his biggest impact has been as a spark plug at the top of the lineup.
Though he went hitless for the first time in 10 games, McNeil beat out a fielder’s choice in the eighth inning that led to the winning run scoring two batters later as Long Beach defeated Cal Poly 3-2 Saturday afternoon at Blair Field. Continue reading
IRVINE, Calif. — UC Davis closer Max Cordy had already unleashed a wild pitch while attempting to intentionally walk a batter, so UC Irvine couldn’t risk trying a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the ninth inning. Instead, with runners on the corners, pinch hitter Ryan Cooper was called on to put down a safety squeeze.
But Cooper laid down a great bunt and pinch runner Justin Castro got a great read. Castro sprinted down the line and slid into UC Davis catcher Izaak Silva, who blocked the plate expertly. However, Castro was able to slip his foot through the five-hole and tapped the corner of home plate with his tippy toe to give Irvine a 5-4 walk-off win Friday night at Anteater Ballpark.
Castro ran for Jerry McClanahan at first base after McClanahan drew a leadoff walk. Castro moved to second on a Scott Gottschling sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on Cordy’s intentional walk throw that went over the head of Silva and all the way to the backstop. After Kris Paulino’s intentional pass was completed, Cooper was sent to the plate to pinch hit despite not having a hit since March 8 (0-for-24).
Cooper still doesn’t have a hit, but he does have a walk-off game-winner to his credit. Continue reading