UCLA can point to a number of games, especially early in the season, that they'd have won had they simply not made errors. Well, Sunday at Jackie Robinson Stadium, the Bruins were finally on the right side of a game beset by errors as they defeated #17 Oregon St. 5-2 despite the Beavers' pitchers surrendering only one earned run. Oregon St. committed five errors in the ball game to UCLA's zero and the Bruins got three hits each from a pair of freshman, Steve Rodriguez and Tyler Rahmatulla. With the game and series win, the Bruins moved to 19-21 on the year and 11-7 in the Pac 10.
For the third consecutive game, Oregon St.'s Stefan Romero had a RBI in the first inning, this time a single up the middle that put the Beavers ahead 1-0 after one.
In the third inning, Oregon St. made their first major fielding error. Rodriguez popped a ball into foul territory, but the OSU first baseman dropped it and gave Rodriguez another chance. Rodirguez took advantage of his second chance by blasting a home run to right field, his first collegiate home run, to tie the game at one.
Joey Wong, who had the two RBI single in the ninth inning on Saturday to beat the Bruins, hit a one out double in the fifth inning to put some pressure on UCLA starter Charles Brewer. Following the inning's second out, Ryan Ortiz notched the second double of the inning to left, which allowed Wong to score easily from second and give Oregon St. a 2-1 lead.
The lead wouldn't last long though and once again, Rodriguez was in the middle of it. Rodriguez led off the fifth with a single back up the box and was awared second base on a balk. Eddie Murray then laced a single to right, which scored Rodriguez, but an error on the right fielder allowed Murray to move all the way to third. After that it was a simple case of fundamental hitting, which Justin Uribe did by hitting a scoring fly ball to center field for a 3-2 UCLA lead.
Brewer was pulled in favor of Matt Grace to begin the sixth and just as was the case on Friday, Grace threw two scoreless innings.
The UCLA offense took advantage of some shoddy Oregon St. defense again in the seventh. Rodriguez led off yet another inning with a single and after an out, the OSU pitcher threw the ball away trying to pick Rodriguez off and the freshman took third. Then, Blair Dunlap reached on an error by the Beavers' first baseman on a play that also allowed Rodriguez to score and stretch the lead to 4-2. Cody Decker finished off the scoring when he hit the first pitcher he saw through the right field for a single that scored Dunlap thanks to an error in right and made it a 5-2 game.
After Grace walked the leadoff man in the eighth, Jason Novak came in and struck out the first three batters he faced. Novak got into trouble in the ninth by putting two runners on with two out so head coach John Savage brought in his closer, Gavin Brooks, who blew the save a day earlier. Brooks was able to induce a fly ball that Dunlap squeezed in center field to wrap up the game and the series for the Bruins.
Brewer earned the win for UCLA to improved to 2-4 on the year thanks to five innings of work in which he allowed six hits and two runs. Grace allowed only one hit and one walk in his two scoreless innings and Novak did the same in his 1.2 innings. Brooks got the only batter he face out to pick up his seventh save on the year.
The star of the game for the Bruins was Rodriguez who was 3-3 with a home run, run scored and 3 RBI. Rahmatulla was 3-4 on the day, a career high in hits for the freshman. Outside of those two freshman, the Bruins managed only two hits, a single by Murray, one by Decker and one by Gabe Cohen, who extended his hit streak to nine games.
The Bruins now sit in third place in the Pac 10, a half behind second place Washington St. and a half game ahead of fourth place Oregon St. UCLA will continue their stretch of 12 of 16 games at Jackie Robinson Stadium with a Tuesday contest versus Long Beach St. As is the case with al Tuesday games, admission is $2.
Pac 10 Standings
1) Arizona St..........15-3
2) Washington St...10-5
4) Oregon St...........9-6
5) Southern Cal.....10-8