The coaching staff has had to temper junior Ty Moore's energy at times in his UCLA baseball career. But there was no containing his enthusiasm after a big play in the sixth inning Sunday that helped propel the Bruins to an 8-3 victory and a series win over crosstown rival USC in front of 1,828 fans at Dedeaux Field.
After hitting an RBI double to give No. 6 UCLA a 4-3 lead, Moore moved up to third base on a flyout and was standing with his foot on the bag when Kort Peterson's fly ball hit the glove of USC left fielder Bobby Stahel. Moore broke for home. Stahel came up throwing, delivering a dart to catcher Garrett Stubbs at the plate. Moore was hosed, but he slid in hard and low, upending Stubbs and jarring the ball free.
"I saw Stubbs had the ball before I got there," Moore said. "I gave it a hard, clean slide. Once I popped up, I saw the ball on the ground and pointed to the umpire that I was safe. That kind of jump-started everything. Plays like that can really swing momentum in your favor."
The following batter, Darrell Miller Jr., hit a solo homer into the netting beyond the left field fence to put UCLA (25-7, 12-3 in the Pac-12) up 5-2.
No. 8 USC (26-9, 8-4) opened the bottom half of the inning with a pair of hits that chased UCLA starter Griffin Canning (5-2), who had retired 12 straight prior to the sixth inning. The Trojans got a run back on a Jeremy Martinez sacrifice fly. That was as close as they got; the UCLA bullpen trio of Tucker Forbes, Grant Dyer and David Berg did not allow a hit in four innings.
The teams split the first two games, with 4,316 total fans in attendance, including a sellout of 2,500 on Saturday night. The Bruins won the opener Friday afternoon, 9-3. USC bounced back with a 5-0 victory behind seven scoreless innings from Kyle Twomey (6-1).
Stahel drove in three runs in the Saturday game after Dante Flores' two-run double put USC ahead in the first inning. Stahel homered in the first two games and extended his hit streak to 17 games with a double on Sunday.
With the series win, UCLA remains atop the Pac-12 standings, and USC is third behind Arizona State.