TEMPE, Ariz. – The No. 23 UCLA baseball team captured the Pac-10 Championship on Sunday, maintaining its one-game lead in the conference standings despite losing, 10-5, at No. 8 Arizona State in the regular-season finale before 2,889 fans at Packard Stadium.
UCLA (33-22, 18-9) earned its first outright Pac-10 Conference title since 1986. Earlier on Sunday, the Bruins were awarded one of 16 NCAA Regional host sites for the second consecutive season.
Oregon’s 6-0 victory at home against Oregon State allowed UCLA to remain one game ahead of Oregon State in the Pac-10 standings on the final day of college baseball’s regular season.
In Sunday’s ballgame, the host Sun Devils (39-16, 17-10) scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to secure a 6-3 lead and never trailed the rest of the way.
UCLA right-hander Adam Plutko (6-4) was tagged with the loss, allowing six runs and 11 hits in 4.2 innings. Plutko struck out three batters and issued three walks.
Arizona State left-hander Mitchell Lambson (5-3) earned the victory, limiting the Bruins to three runs and six hits in five innings. Lambson had six strikeouts and one walk in his first start of the season (27th overall appearance).
Matt Newman led Arizona State at the plate, going 4-for-5 with one home run, two doubles, three RBI and two runs. Xorge Carrillo went 3-for-5 with one run and one RBI, and four other Sun Devils each recorded at least two hits.
UCLA’s Chris Giovinazzo went 2-for-3 with one triple, one double, one RBI and two runs.
The Bruins scored one run in the top of the first, before Arizona State took a 2-1 lead in the third inning.
UCLA plated two runs in the top of the fifth to secure a 3-2 advantage With Jeff Gelalich at third base, Giovinazzo doubled down the right-field line and moved to third on a fielding error by Newman. A single up the middle on a two-out, two-strike count by Beau Amaral scored Giovinazzo.
The Sun Devils recaptured the lead, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth to lead, 6-3. Deven Marrero led off with a double to right field, moved to third base by tagging up on a fly out to center field and scored on Joey DeMichele’s single through the left side. With two outs, Newman belted a two-run home run to right field. Later in the frame, Johnny Ruettiger drew a bases-loaded walk to send home Carrillo.
Arizona State added one run with two outs on a run-scoring double by Newman in the sixth inning and scored one pair of runs in the seventh to assume a 9-3 cushion.
With the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, Trevor Brown grounded a two-run single through the left side of the infield, sending home Cody Keefer and Pat Valaika.
The Sun Devils added one run off two hits in the bottom of the eighth inning.
UCLA returns to action at the NCAA Los Angeles Regional beginning Friday, June 3. The NCAA Tournament’s 16 Regional host sites were announced earlier on Sunday. The entire 64-team tournament field will be announced Monday at 9:30 a.m. on ESPN.
Game Notes: In the final game of the regular season, UCLA surrendered a season-high in runs (10) and hits (18) … since the conference became the “Pac-10″ in baseball in 1979, UCLA has earned four conference championships (shared the Pac-10 title in 2000, won the title outright in 2011, 1986 and 1979) … the Bruins earned the first series victory (weekend series) at Arizona State since Oregon State won two of three at Packard Stadium in April 2008 … UCLA finished its regular season with a 9-4-1 record in weekend series (including a 7-2 mark in Pac-10 action).