March 11, 2012
Athens, Ga.----The 16th-ranked UCLA Bruins extended their winning streak to 10 with a 7-3 win over No. 9 Georgia Sunday at Foley Field.
UCLA (12-3) chased Bulldog starter Taylor Hicks in the second, building a 3-0 advantage. The Bulldogs missed out on numerous scoring opportunities as the Bruins issued nine walks, and Georgia stranded 12 on the afternoon. The Bulldogs (11-5) used six pitchers in the loss while the Bruins employed six. After a clean first, Hicks had a trio of wild pitches and a walk in the second that led to the initial outburst. UCLA shortstop Pat Valaika drove in the first run of the game with a single past second, scoring Jeff Gelalich. Following the first run, Kevin Kramer was hit-by-pitch, and Kevin Williams was walked, scoring Trevor Brown for the second run. Senior Chase Hawkins was called in to relieve Hicks. With the bases loaded, Hawkins walked Beau Amaral scoring Valaika, giving UCLA a 3-0 lead. Hawkins then recorded the final two outs to end a possible big inning, including a clutch force out at home plate.
The Bulldogs answered in the second thanks to a consecutive walks by Brett DeLoach and Hunter Cole, DeLoach advanced to third on a throwing error by Tyler Heineman. Georgia put up their first run of the contest after Curt Powell hit a sacrifice-fly to center, scoring DeLoach. The Bulldogs could not capitalize with runners on first and third when Brandon Stephens hit into a double play to end the inning with the score at 3-1 in UCLA's favor.
Georgia led off the third with a Peter Verdin walk. Freshman Nelson Ward, who made his first career start in center, knocked Verdin over with a single to left field, DeLoach followed with a walk but after a Cole fly out, the Bulldogs couldn't take advantage with based loaded. Georgia threatened in the fourth after a couple of walks and a Powell single, however with bases loaded and one out, and UCLA got out of a jam with only two pitches on line outs by Nelson Ward and Hyams. First baseman Trevor Brown made a nice snag of the Ward line drive. Meanwhile, UCLA starter Zack Weiss was pulled in fourth after pitching three innings, only giving up a single hit but surrendering five walks, and an earned run.
In the fifth, Georgia plated the second run of the game. DeLoach singled to left field and advanced to second after Cole was walked. Hester singled to shortstop after a collision between UCLA's Valaika and Kramer. With bases loaded, Powell grounded out to short scoring DeLoach to bring the score to 3-2 after five frames.
In the seventh inning, UCLA added to its lead. After a lead-off single by Kramer, an Amaral walk, the Bruins got back-to-back singles by Heineman and Cody Keefer making it a two-run lead. The Bulldogs returned the favor in the seventh. Kyle Farmer smacked a double to right field and advanced to third on a ground out by DeLoach. Farmer plated the third run of the game on a Cole ground out to second. Hester walked but Georgia was unable to put UCLA added two runs in the ninth off of three hits, including an RBI double by Keefer.
Hicks drops to (2-2) with the loss in a game that featured six Bulldog pitchers with freshman Ross Ripple being the most effective, pitching two scoreless innings during a stretch where Georgia kept UCLA off the scoreboard for four straight innings. UCLA reliever Chase Brewer picked up the win.
"It definitely hurts, but it was a combination of a bad weekend, and UCLA played some good defense, and they got timely hitting," said Georgia coach David Perno. "You have to cash in with the opportunities we are getting, and we are just leaving too many runners on base."
"It's never as bad as you think, and we not as far away as it appears," Perno added. "We need to clean up some things, and get back on the right track."
The Bulldogs take the field Tuesday against Alcorn State at Foley Field, first pitch slated at 5:30 p.m.