UCLA baseball’s stadium staff cordoned off an area along the concourse of Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday night where a swarm of bees took cover in a tree.
But it was the BBs the Bruins saw on Tuesday – bases on balls to be exact – that proved to be killer for the visiting UC Irvine Anteaters in UCLA’s 8-1 win.
“We kind of let them hang themselves … and then when we needed a hit, get a hit. I think we had good at bats and we were patient. … That only leads to knocking the wall down in the seventh,” said sophomore third baseman Kevin Kramer, whose three-run triple to center capped off a five-run seventh inning.
The Bruins’ bats buzzed as they pounded out 13 hits and broke the game open, taking an 8-0 lead in the seventh. Just before Kramer’s triple cleared the bases, junior center fielder Brian Carroll took a bases-loaded walk to score a run.
No. 9 UCLA’s patient approach at the plate countered UCI (28-13), who used six pitchers on the evening.
“A really big part of our offense is plate discipline and really hunting our pitch. If we don’t get our pitch, we take walks and get the next guys to the plate,” Carroll said.
Freshman pitcher Cody Poteet bounced back in a big way for UCLA (28-13). After getting roughed up in his last start, surrendering five walks and five runs, Poteet had the best performance of his young career, pitching a career-high six innings and striking out a career-high five batters Tuesday.
Poteet’s calm start allowed the Bruin bats to go to work as UCLA tallied a run in each of the third, fifth and sixth innings before busting things wide open in the seventh.
“He’s still learning, he takes a couple of steps forward then he takes a step back; he’s young,” Savage said of Poteet.
“He has a chance to be really, really good and I think it’s just a matter of time. … I think he’s certainly taking steps in the right direction of being a guy that can really help us down the stretch.”
The combined offensive and defensive performance had the Bruins’ coach buzzing after the game.
“(UCI’s) battling for a Big West championship and they’re a good RPI team, and we needed to get back on track after Sunday’s loss,” Savage said. “It was a good team win, one of our better altogether team wins – offense, defense, pitching.”