LOS ANGELES -- Fourth-ranked UCLA used two three-run home runs to power past No. 7 Southern California 9-3 on Friday afternoon at Dedeaux Field. The win evens the season series with USC 1-1 with two games to play.
James Kaprielian (7-2) lasted six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out six, to earn the victory for UCLA. Brent Wheatley (2-2) allowed five runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings to receive the loss for the Trojans.
The UCLA offense was strong in the series opener, totaling double-digit hits for the 14th time this season. Ty Moore (1-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB) and Christoph Bono (2-for-3, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB) each delivered a three-run home run and Chris Keck(3-for-5, R, RBI) pitched in his 11th multi-hit game to help propel the Bruins to the win.
UCLA (24-6, 11-2) jumped on Wheatley early, getting three runs on one swing of the bat in the top of the first inning.Kevin Kramer began the game with a single through the right side of the infield. Then, with one out, Luke Persicoreached on an error by the Trojans’ shortstop, Reggie Southall, to set up Moore with two on and one out. Moore seized the opportunity and sent a 1-2 pitch careening off of the scoreboard in right-center field to put the Bruins on top, 3-0. The first inning scoring marked the 14th time that UCLA has struck for runs in the opening frame this season.
The Bruins continued to attack the Trojans early in the game, adding two more runs in the top of the third inning. Persico doubled to begin the frame and was brought home on a Keck RBI-single through the left side of the infield two batters later. Then, after loading the bases with one out, Bono hit a deep fly ball to right-center field that went for a sacrifice-fly and put UCLA on top 5-0.
In the bottom half of the third, USC (25-8, 7-3) finally broke through and cut into the Bruins’ five-run lead. A double, followed by two walks and a Jeremy Martinez RBi-single brought in the first run for the Trojans. Then, with the bases loaded and no outs, Kaprielian induced Timmy Robinson into an important 5-4-3 double play. Another run came across on the play, but the damage was limited to two runs, allowing UCLA to hold a three-run advantage after three innings.
With both teams combining for seven runs through the opening three frames, the next three proved to be quiet.
The silence, however, was lifted in the top of the seventh when Bono launched the second three-run home run of the game for the Bruins. With Keck and Darrell Miller Jr. on-base and one away, Bono connected on the first pitch he saw and took it deep into the trees beyond the right field fence. The long ball extended the UCLA lead to six runs.
The Trojans’ Bobby Stahel would answer in the bottom of the seventh with a home run of his own. However, it was a solo shot that could only cut the Bruins’ lead to 8-3.
In the ninth, Kramer delivered a sacrifice-fly in the top half and David Berg pitched a scoreless bottom half to eventually bring the final tally to 9-3.