WACO (February 24, 2013) -- In the rubber match of a very competitive series, No. 2 UCLA came out on top 5-4 as No. 23 Baylor gave up a run in the ninth to break a 4-4 tie Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears (2-5) had erased an early 4-0 Bruins (4-2) lead but surrendered an unfortunate run in the ninth.
With Josh Michalec on the mound for BU in a 4-4 tie in the ninth, a leadoff walk to Brian Carroll started a troublesome inning. Carroll quickly moved to second with Kevin Kramer at the plate on a passed ball by Jimmy Landes. Following a Kramer sacrifice bunt that allowed him to reach base on a wide throw to first by Landes, another passed ball plated Carroll for the game-winning run.
"I thought we played hard and I thought we competed,” said BU Head Coach Steve Smith. “We have got some issues on the mound and behind the plate that got exposed. I thought we were fortunate to be in the game with all of those things. Defensively, we are playing the game pretty well; it is just an issue at the mound and behind the plate where we just need to do a better job of commanding the game a little bit."
Stellar UCLA closer James Kaprielian then nailed down his second save of the season and series by striking out the side in the Baylor ninth. The save by Kaprielian gave UCLA its second straight season with a 2-1 series win over the Bears in its first trip to Waco.
Baylor’s 4-0 deficit came after starter Austin Stone left the mound due to a strict pitch count he was on. Stone tossed three shutout innings, using 40 pitches, 25 of which were strikes. He allowed just three base runners on two hits and an HBP while striking out two.
UCLA scored its four runs on Sean Spicer, who picked up BU’s first win on Tuesday against Texas State.
In the fourth, Spicer got off to an inauspicious start as a routine throw to first was dropped by Mitch Price, allowing Pat Valaika to reach base. The error ended up costing the Bears after a Pat Gallagher single and Shane Zeile one-out walk loaded the bases. Christoph Bono then cashed in on a sacrifice fly before Spicer escaped.
In the fifth, Spicer gave up a one-out single to Carroll, walked Kramer and surrendered an RBI double to Valaika. Crayton Bare relieved Spicer and struck out Gallagher but then gave up a pinch-hit two-run single to Tyler Scott. However, Bare locked down UCLA for a career-high three innings of scoreless ball, allowing a walk and hit with two strikeouts.
Baylor answered the three-run UCLA fifth with a manufactured run. Grayson Porter led off with a walk and Jake Miller singled behind him. A Brett Doe sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position for Nate Goodwin, who brought Porter home on a sacrifice foul fly out to right.
In the seventh, Baylor pushed across two more on a huge pinch-hit two-out single by Duncan Wendel.
The hit to center scored Price and Miller after both singled up the middle.
To tie it up in the eighth, Adam Toth led off with a single and came around to score on a Cal Towey single to right.
UCLA’s starter Grant Watson didn’t factor in the decision after allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk with two strikeouts in 6.2 frames. David Berg (1-0) picked up the win in relief, despite giving up the tying run on two hits in 1.1 innings with one strikeout.
“We were facing some quality stuff out there, but [Grayson Porter] got us going,” said Smith. “I thought up and down the lineup there were a lot of good at-bats in the game. We hit some balls at them and finally got some things to fall. They are very good. It is not that they are so phenomenally gifted, the difference is the way you play the game and predominantly on the mound. I thought from Friday to Sunday on the mound I think they showed that -- just a lot of consistency and a lot ability to control the game."
The loss was given to Josh Michalec (0-1) as he gave up an unearned run in 1.1 innings of work on one hit and two walks with one strikeout.
Valaika and Gallagher led UCLA with two hits apiece, while Nathan Orf, Towey and Miller had two hits each for Baylor.
The Bears wrap up a five-game home stand on Tuesday with a 6:35 p.m. CT contest against Pepperdine.