WESTWOOD, CA - The fourth-ranked UCLA baseball team earned at least a share of the Pac-12 Conference title as the Bruins polished off a three-game sweep of Arizona with a 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Trailing for the first time in the series, UCLA erased a 2-0 deficit with a four-run fifth inning and then relied on sturdy bullpen to shut down the Wildcats the rest of the way.
Arizona starting pitcher Bobby Dalbec was strong over the first four innings, allowing just one hit. But he ran into trouble in the fifth inning as the Bruins sent nine men to the plate.
Trent Chatterton's leadoff single sparked the decisive fifth frame. Justin Hazard's bunt single was then misplayed by the Wildcats, advancing both runners into scoring position before Brett Stephens roped a game-tying single to center.
Later, Chris Keck's bases-loaded single pushed home two more runs, and that was all the offense the Bruins needed.
Even so, Kevin Kramer's two-out RBI doubled added an insurance run int bottom of the sixth.
Four relievers combined to limit the Wildcats to one run over the last 4.1 innings. Cody Poteet (W, 5-1) replaced starter Hunter Virant with one down in the fifth, earning the win with 1.1 scoreless innings.
Berg earned his 12th save of the season with 1.2 scoreless innings to finish out the game.
Virant did not factor into the decision, tossing 4.2 innings with two runs allowed. He surrendered three hits, a walk and struck out one.
Arizona (28-23, 12-18 Pac-12) struck for a run in the first inning when Kevin Newman doubled and moved to third on Riley Moore's single. Dalbec then lifted a sacrifice fly to plate the Wildcats' first run of the series.
The Wildcats added to their lead with another lone run in the fourth. Tyler Krause hit a one-out double, then advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt. JJ Matijevic's ground out drove in the second run.
Dalbec (L, 2-7) took the loss after allowing four runs on five hits in 4.1 innings. The righty struck out five and walked two.
The Wildcats briefly threatened in the eighth inning, but Berg put an end to those thoughts.
Dalbec doubled home a run off Grant Dyer, prompting the pitching change. Berg entered with the tying run at the plate, but quickly struck out Krause and then coaxed Matijevic into a ground out.
Arizona will return home to close out its 2015 season with non-conference action next week at Hi Corbett Field (May 21-24). The Wildcats host Abilene Christian University at Hi Corbett Field on Thursday and Friday, before facing Hawaii for two games on Saturday and Sunday.
GAME NOTES: UCLA swept the Wildcats in Los Angeles for the second consecutive trip (also in 2013). The Bruins have won the last eight contests against the Wildcats at Jackie Robinson Stadium … Arizona doubled three times on Sunday after collecting four two-baggers on Saturday. The club saw its streak of games with an extra base hit snapped Friday night (37 games) ... Scott Kingery collected his first hit of the weekend and his 1-for-3 effort kept his average above .400. The only time this season Kingery has been below .400 was in the first game of the year (1-for-4) … Arizona's run in the first inning snapped a string of 23-consecutive scoreless innings.