The Bruins fell behind early, but took the lead just before the rain started to come down, then extended that lead throughout the remainder of the game en route to a 8-3 win over #5 UC Irvine. Cody Decker led the way for the Bruins, going 2-5 with three RBI. One of Decker's hits was a two-run home run making it three consecutive games with a round tripper for the senior.
UC Irvine jumped out to a 1-0 lead before the Bruins ever got to step into the box. After Irvine's Ben Orloff singled and advanced on a throwing error by UCLA catcher Gino Aielli, then came home on a single by Ronnie Schaeffer to put UCI up 1-0.
The Anteaters would extend that lead in the second inning when Irvine's Ryan Fisher jumped all over a fastball by UCLA pitcher Garett Claypool and hit a home run to deep right field that landed on top of the Gifford Hitting Facility.
In the bottom half of the second inning, the Bruins put together a two out rally that cut into the Anteater lead. With two out, Aielli singled, Brett Krill walked and Niko Gallego singled to load the bases. Eddie Murray then worked a walk to bring home a run and cut the deficit to 2-1. The Bruins would have taken the lead later in the second, but Blair Dunlap followed Murray with a ground ball between first and second base that Irvine first baseman Jeff Cusick made a fantastic diving play to save two runs and end the inning.
The rain began in the top of the third as a light mist, but by the bottom of the inning it began to come down much harder. After Justin Uribe doubled in the bottom of that third inning, Decker hit his home run to right center field that put the Bruins ahead 3-2. Alex Weber-Shapiro walked next and at that point the rain was too much to play through. The umpires called for a rain delay and the Bruin players rushed on to the field to pull the tarp over the infield.
Slightly over 30 minutes later the rain had subsided and the two team resumed play. There was a light mist at times, but never enough to threaten the game again. When the two teams took the field again, the Bruins had a man on first with one out and they put another man on base after the resumption of play, but the inning came to a close with a pair of fly outs.
Unfortunately for the Bruins and Claypool, Claypool was just settling into a groove when the rain came. By the time the game was continued, Claypool had been sitting for too long so Rob Rasmussen came in to relieve Claypool. Rasmuseen pitched a clean fourth and got a run of cushion in the bottom half of the inning when Decker singled to score Murray.
Rasmussen allowed a run in the fifth that reduced the UCLA lead to one again, this time at 4-3, but after a perfect sixth inning, the southpaw got some more help from the offense. Casey Haerther laced a one out single to right center, then Uribe notched his second double of the game. This one was to left center and brought Haerther around the score all the way from first.
Ahead 5-3, UCLA head coach John Savage turned to little used redshirt freshman Erik Goeddel in the seventh. Goeddel rewarded Savage's faith in him by pitching a perfect inning, then took a seat while the UCLA offense went to work again. Aielli found a way on base again, this time via a base on balls, then Krill singled to put runners on the corners with no out. Gallego hit a sacrifice fly to score Aielli and extend the Bruin lead to 6-3. After Krill swiped second base, Murray came through again with a double that allowed Krill to score easily.
Goeddel returned to the eigth and picked up a couple outs before giving way to Gavin Brooks, who ended the inning. Murray picked up yet another RBI in the bottom of the eighth, this time with a sacrifice fly, to put UCLA up 8-3. Brooks put the Anteaters away in the ninth inning and the Bruins improved to 12-17 on the year.
Rob Rasmussen got the win for the Bruins for his three innings of one run work and the four UCLA pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts. In addition to Decker's strong game at the plate, the Bruins got contributions from a few other places. Murray was 2-3 on the night with two walks, three RBI, a stolen bag and a run scored. Gallego continued his hot hitting with a 2-4 effort that included a RBI and Aielli was 2-3 with two walks and three runs scored.
The Bruins will return to the field for a key Pac 10 series this Thursday at Stanford. The series will be played Thursday, Friday and Saturday to avoid playing on Easter Sunday and Saturday's contest will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports. I will have my normal weekend preview up Thursday afternoon.