If the offense was supposed to be UCLA's question mark coming into 2010, they have put an end to any questions already. A day after scoring 16 runs in their season opener, UCLA hit double digits again in their 10-3 defeat of Bethune Cookman in the MLB Urban Invitational. Of course, it is still very early in the season and the competition hasn't comprised of future College World Series teams, but the offense has done all you could ask to this point as their three home runs on Saturday night gave them seven for the season in just two games.
While the offense was pounding away, Trevor Bauer went to the mound for the first time in 2010 after being named 2009 National Freshman Pitcher of the Year and was electric. Two long balls got to Bauer, totaling three runs, but in eight innings of work Bauer gave up just those three runs on four hits. Bauer showed no signs of slowing late either, retiring seven of the last eight batters he faced by way of strikeout, giving him a career-high 13 for the game.
UCLA got the scoring started in the second when Cody Regis hit into a double play with the bases loaded, allowing Justin Uribe to score from third and putting the Bruins ahead 1-0.
In the third inning, Steve Rodriguez led off with a home run to right center field and after Beau Amaral walked, Marc Navarro deposited one over the left field fence to make the score 4-0.
Regis was involved in another UCLA run in the fourth when a wild pitch that the Bethune Cookman catcher could not locate against the backstop allowed him to come all the way around from second to score.
Things were just getting started for Regis, though. With Uribe at third and Cody Keefer at second, BCU brought their infield in so Regis' high chopper towards second got over the second baseman, allowing both runners to score for the freshman's first hit and RBI as a collegiate player. The first collegiate hit and RBI theme carried on later in the inning when Amaral singled on a hard liner to left, scoring Regis and stretching the Bruins' lead to 8-2.
Bethune Cookman got one more in the sixth, but the Bruins got that one back and one more in the final two innings. Rodriguez blasted another lead off home run in the eighth, his second homer of the game and third of the season, one season after hitting just two homers all year. Ahead 9-3, Niko Gallego singled through the left side to bring home the game's final run in the 10-3 victory.
Dan Klein relieved Bauer in the ninth inning, throwing a perfect inning with a strikeout on just five pitches. The appearance for Klein, the UCLA closer, was his first since the middle of the 2008 season when he went down with an injury.
The game could be a look into the future of the UCLA lineup in 2010. In the offseason, UCLA head coach John Savage hinted that he could platoon at a few spots to match right-handed batters against left-handed pitchers and left-handed batters against right-handed pitchers. Tonight with a right-hander on the mound, Amaral, Navarro and Regis, all left-handed batters, earned their first starts in place of three right-handed batters who played last night versus a left-handed pitcher.
Now 2-0 on the season, the Bruins will look to make it a clean sweep of the weekend back at home when Cal St. Northridge heads to Jackie Robinson Stadium. Rob Rasmussen will get the nod for Coach Savage's boys as UCLA goes for a 6-0 all-time record at the MLB Urban Invitational. First pitch is at 2 pm PST.