May 13, 2013 1:21 AM
LOS ANGELES - The 10th-ranked UCLA baseball team blasted three homers and benefitted from timely hitting to complete a three-game series sweep with a 12-5 victory over Arizona on Sunday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Chris Keck and Kevin Kramer each hit three-run homers and combined for seven runs batted in to pace a 13-hit attack that delivered timely hits all afternoon. The Bruins outscored the Wildcats 9-2 in two-out RBI - the same seven-run margin that decided the final score.
After falling behind 2-0 in the second inning, UCLA (34-14, 17-7 Pac-12) scored a run in the home half of the frame and then took control of the game with a six-run third inning aided by a couple of defensive miscues that resulted in only one run being earned.
Brian Carroll and Kramer delivered one-out singles to place runners at the corners for Eric Filia, who dropped down a squeeze bunt. First baseman Joseph Maggi charged and had a play at the plate, but his throw was to the wrong side of catcher Riley Moore and Carroll slid in safely with the tying run.
With runners at first and second, Pat Valaika lifted a fly ball that was dropped near the foul line by right fielder Scott Kingery, which loaded the bases. Cody Regis followed by striking out, but Shane Zeile roped a two-out, two-run single to center to give the Bruins' a two-run lead.
Keck, who tripled in a run in the second, then launched a three-run homer run to right field to push UCLA's lead to 7-2.
It was a tough break for Arizona starter Tyler Crawford (L, 5-2), who was charged for seven runs - two earned - on six hits. He struck out three and walked none.
In the fourth inning, Moore hit a solo home run to right-center that cut the deficit to 7-3.
Arizona (29-20, 10-14) made things interesting in the fifth inning, but squandered a prime scoring opportunity after Maggi and Johnny Field led off with singles and Trent Gilbert drew a walk. That promoted a pitching change for UCLA, which called on Matt Deeter to take over for starter Grant Watson.
Deeter coaxed consecutive pop outs by Brandon Dixon and Kevin Newman, then induced an inning-ending groundout from Moore to strand the three runners and preserve a four-run lead.
UCLA put the game away for good with a four-run fifth inning sparked by Keck drawing a one-out walk. Pinch-hitter Kevin Williams followed with a single and Ty Moore drove in Keck with a single of his own. One out later, Kramer hit a three-run home run to right-center to cap a four-run frame that extended the Bruins' lead to 11-3.
The teams traded single runs in the sixth, and Zach Gibbon's two-out, run-scoring single in the top of the seventh set the score at its eventual final, 12-5.
It was a rare timely hit for the Wildcats, who stranded 12 runners on base. They were just 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position and only 5-for-23 with runners on base.
Arizona plated a pair of runs in the second inning after Newman led off with a single and Moore followed with a double. With runners at the corners, Gibbons drove in Newman with a single through the left side. One out later, David Real drove in a run on a fielder's choice groundout to spot the visitors with a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins scored their first run on back-to-back extra base hits with two outs in the home half of the second. Zeile pulled a double down the left field line and Keck tripled to the right field wall to cut the deficit to 2-1.
UCLA utilized five reliever pitchers to close the game out. Deeter (W, 2-0) was credited for the win for his effort in escaping the fifth inning.
The Wildcats finished with four relievers behind Crawford, included two scoreless innings from freshmen Cody Moffett and Nathan Bannister in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively.
Arizona will remain on the road for a three-game set at No. 17 Arizona State (32-15, 14-10) next weekend. The series begins on Friday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. (MST) at Packard Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
(Courtesy: Arizona Athletics)