LOS ANGELES -- Ty Moore and Chris Keck delivered a pair of RBI-singles in the bottom of the eighth to lead UCLA to a 2-1 series-clinching victory against the Cal Golden Bears on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins claimed the series 2-1 and are now 9-0 in weekend sets this season.
Through 18 conference games, UCLA (14-4) is off to its best start since 1969 when the Bruins also went 14-4 through their first 18 conference games.
With two outs, trailing by a run, Ty Moore tied the game with a single up the middle to score Christoph Bono from second. Then, Chris Keck followed with a hard hit ball to first base that careened off of the first baseman’s glove to give the Bruins’ the game-winning RBI.
David Berg (4-0) pitched the final two innings in relief, allowing no runs on two hits, while striking out one, to earn the victory. Cal’s Alex Schick (1-1) allowed two runs in his one inning of relief to garner the loss.
Five different Bruins combined for the team’s seven hits, led by Moore (2-for-4, RBI) and Luke Persico (2-for-3, 2B, R).
Canning began the game by throwing four perfect innings, totaling five strikeouts over that span. The freshman didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, retiring the first 14 batters faced, on his way to five scoreless innings.
However, Cal (23-13, 10-8) broke the freshman’s scoreless streak in the sixth inning to take the game’s first lead. With one out, lead-off hitter Chris Paul stroked a triple to the right-center field gap on a 0-1 offering from Canning. Then, following a walk to Aaron Knapp, Lucas Erceg singled through the right side of the infield to score Paul and chase Canning from the game. Reliever Tucker Forbes then came on and induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, but the Golden Bears led, 1-0, after five and a half innings.
UCLA (28-8, 14-4) had a good chance to get on the board in the bottom half of the sixth, after loading the bases with one out. Kevin Kramer was hit with a pitch and was followed with back-to-back infield singles from Brett Urabe and Luke Persico to chalk the bases full. However, Ty Moore subsequently grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the Bruin threat.
It was the eighth inning that proved to be paramount for UCLA. With two outs, Bono began the flurry by reaching on a two-strike infield single. Persico then walked, setting up Moore for the RBI-single and Keck thereafter.
Despite the tough eighth inning, Cal did not go quietly in the final frame, getting runners to the corners in the ninth inning. However, Berg got Nick Halamandaris to ground out to first base to close out the game and give UCLA the 2-1 series clinching victory.