Valaika

WACO, Texas -- No. 6 UCLA earned a big road series victory, defeating Baylor 5-4on Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark. Junior Brian Carroll scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning on a passed ball by Baylor catcher Jimmy Landes.

After neither side scored for the first three innings, the Bruins got on the board in the fourth inning, when redshirt freshman Christoph Bono came to the plate with the bases loaded and knocked in junior Pat Gallagher with a sacrifice fly to right to make the score 1-0 UCLA.

Grant Watson was dominant in the early going, retiring the first 11 Baylor batters on 45 pitches, 33 of which were strikes. In the bottom of the fourth inning though, the Bears got two runners on with two outs, bringing Mitch Price to the plate. Price hit a swinging bunt down the third base line, but sophomore Kevin Kramer came charging in and made a spectacular running throw to get Price at first and end the threat.

UCLA would add another run in the top of fifth, when junior Pat Valaika doubled down the left field line to score Carroll from second and send Kramer to third, giving the Bruins a 2-0 advantage. Two batters later, redshirt freshman Tyler Scott, who was making his first career at-bat, hit a two-run single up the middle to score Kramer and Valaika to give the Bruins a 4-0 lead.

Baylor would get one back in the bottom half of the inning though, getting a sacrifice fly from Nate Goodwin to cut the lead to 4-1. The Bears threatened again in the bottom of the seventh, putting two runners on first and second with one out. Watson got Brett Doe to ground out on the next at-bat, but then pinch-hitter Duncan Wendel knocked in both runners with a single to center to cut UCLA's lead to 4-3. However, sophomore David Berg came in to relieve Watson after the single and struck out Logan Brown looking to keep the game at 4-3.

The Bears would get the tying in the bottom of the eighth when Cal Towey singled off Berg to bring home Adam Toth, evening the game at 4-4 going to the ninth. In the top half of the inning, Carroll led off with a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. Kramer then reached first on a throwing error by the catcher, sending Carroll to third. Carroll would eventually come home on the next pitch after another passed ball, giving UCLA the 5-4 lead going to the bottom of the ninth. Freshman James Kaprielian came on in the bottom of the ninth and struck out the side to secure the 5-4 victory.

Overall, Valaika led the Bruin offense, going 2-5 with a double and a RBI. Gallagher followed that up with a 2-4 effort of his own while Scott, Carroll and Chatterton each added a hit. Watson went 6.2 innings, giving up seven hits and three earned runs in a no-decision. Berg earned his first victory of the year while Kaprielian picked up his second save of the weekend.

UCLA (4-2) will hit the road again this Tuesday when they travel up the freeway to Santa Barbara, Calif., to face UC Santa Barbara.