Matt Pearl hit his first two home runs of the season and left-hander Ryan Carter struck out five in three innings of relief to help UCLA take over first place in the Pacific 10 Conference with an 8-5 victory over USC Sunday before a season-high crowd of 1,403 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Carter, a 6-foot-7 junior, struck out the side in the seventh with none out and runners on second and third. In the ninth, with two runners aboard, he struck out freshman Alberto Concepcion to end the game.
In nine innings of relief in Pac-10 play, Carter has struck out 15 and given up two hits--both Sunday. His success has strengthened a UCLA bullpen that earlier this season couldn't hold a nine-run lead against North Carolina in the ninth inning.
Chase Utley had three hits and three runs batted in for UCLA, 22-13 overall and 7-2 in the Pac-10. The Bruins took two of three against the Trojans (23-13, 6-3).
Utley, a second baseman, went nine for 14 in the series. UCLA took advantage of a two-run throwing error by shortstop Seth Davidson and a two-run single by Utley to take a 4-1 lead against USC ace Mark Prior (5-4). Prior struck out eight in seven innings.
USC tied the score in the top of the third with three runs, including a two-run home run by Justin Gemoll.
Forrest Johnson and Pearl homered in the bottom of the third to give UCLA a 6-4 lead. Bobby Roe (5-2) picked up the victory by lasting six innings.
Freshman Anthony Lunetta had four hits for USC.