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. Read the rest of this entry »