May 30, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - An error on a ground ball by Cody Decker with one out in the bottom of the ninth scored pinch-runner Chris Giovinazzo with the game-winning run as No. 2-seeded UCLA defeated No. 3-seeded Virginia, 3-2, in the first game of the NCAA Baseball Regional on Friday night at Goodwin Field in front of 1,655 fans.
The victory moves the Bruins to 33-25 overall on the season and into the winners bracket where they will face the winner of the Cal State Fullerton-Rider match-up on Saturday night (May 31) at 8:00 p.m.
The Cavaliers fell to 38-22 overall on the season and will meet the loser of Friday night's second game between the Titans and Broncs in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Brendan Lafferty (4-3) earned the win for UCLA, pitching a scoreless ninth inning with a pair of strikeouts. Reliever Matt Packer (6-3) suffered the loss, charged with an unearned run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings of work.
UCLA started its rally with back-to-back singles to lead-off the bottom of the ninth. Ryan Babineau singled to right and was followed by Mickey Weisser, who eluded a tag by the Virginia first baseman to hustle out a bunt and put a pair on.
After a sacrifice bunt attempt back to the mound erased the lead runner, Decker entered as a pinch hitter and worked the count full before hitting a bouncer to third. Tyler Cannon fielded it cleanly, but his throw to try and get Decker sailed on him, allowing Giovinazzo to score all the way from second base and end the game.
An RBI groundout by Alden Carrithers with runners at the corners in the first inning plated the Bruins' first run after Jermaine Curtis led off with a double and Blair Dunlap followed with a bunt single.
UCLA made it 2-0 with a run in the fourth after the Bruins loaded the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout by Jacob Thompson, Weisser, who finished 3-for-4 on the night, singled back up the middle and into centerfield to score Carrithers. Thompson escaped the jam during the next at bat, inducing a ground ball double play to end the inning.
Virginia clawed its way back to tie the game with single runs in the sixth and eighth innings thanks to sacrifice flies by David Adams and Jeremy Farrell.
The Cavaliers' offense, however, was prevented from putting up any more runs in each of the innings by some sparkling defensive gems by the Bruins. With the tying run at third in the sixth with one out, UCLA pulled off a successful hidden ball trick as Curtis caught Cannon napping for out number two and starter Tim Murphy picked off a runner at first to end the inning.
In the eighth, Brady Dolan made a diving stab on Farrell's sac fly to right, preventing extra bases despite allowing the tying run to come home.
Phil Gosselin led Virginia with a 3-for-4 night at the plate while Adams also finished with two hits on the night.