Dean Espy went 4-4 with a home run, two runs and four RBI in the Bruins' dominating win over ORU (Photo Credit: Official Site)
The 13th ranked Bruins just kept hitting and hitting and hitting. Coming off of finals week, there was concern that the UCLA offense may be a little off and need a few innings to kept back in sync. Concerns unwarranted. The Bruins totaled 23 hits against Oral Roberts on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium, including three home runs as they crushed the Golden Eagles, 20-4 to improve to 14-0 on the season. Their 14 straight wins ties the school record set in 1969.
It didn't take long for the UCLA offense to get going either. The Bruins picked up nine runs in the first inning, followed it up with two in the second and then plated five in the third to put the game away very early on and put them well en route to a perfect 14-0 record this season. With the Bruin offense rolling, Gerrit Cole was able to settle in and went seven innings to pick up the win. Cole allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts on the night to improve to 5-0 in five starts on the season.
The Bruin offense was paced by Tyler Rahmatulla, Steve Rodriguez and Dean Espy, who have been arguably the Bruins' best hitters on the young season. Espy went 4-4 on the night with a pair of runs scored, a home run and a total four RBI. Rahmatulla matched Espy with a home run, four RBI and two runs of his own on 2-3 hitting, while Rodriguez finished 2-3 with four runs scored and three RBI. Beau Amaral went 2-6 with two runs and two RBI as well and Cody Regis came off the bench with three RBI.
Oral Roberts actually scored the game's first run as Cole got off to a slow start, but the bats had no such issue. Blair Dunlap doubled to lead off the game and Amaral reached on a bunt single, then Rahmatulla hit a three-run homer well over the center field wall for a 3-1 advantage. After an out, Cody Keefer was hit by a pitch and Brett Krill singled to put runners on the corners. Rodriguez executed a squeeze bunt to score Keefer and an error allowed him to reach base. Espy singled to score Krill and Niko Gallego's single brought Rodriguez home. After the inning's second out, Beau Amaral drove in two with a single and Rahmatulla picked up his fourth RBI of the first inning with a double that scored Amaral.
Krill led off the second inning with a home run and after UCLA loaded the bases with nobody out, Oral Roberts finally pulled their starting pitcher. The reliever induced a double play and picked up the third out, allowing just one more run to score, but the Bruins led 11-1 after just two innings.
Just in case 11 runs wasn't enough, the Bruins ended any suspense in the third inning. With the bases loaded, Rodriguez singled to score two and was followed by Espy, who hit a three-run homer to give the Bruins a 16-1 advantage.
An error let the Bruins add one more run in the fifth and Regis, who came in to replace Espy, hit a double with the bases loaded to drive in three for a 20-1 UCLA lead.
Cole allowed the second of his two runs in the seventh inning and Garett Claypool and Matt Drummond each allowed a run in their one inning of relief each to put the cap on a 20-4 victory.
The Bruins and Golden Eagles will return to the Jackie Robinson Stadium field on Saturday at 2 pm PST with Trevor Bauer (3-0, 2.38 ERA) getting the start for UCLA. The Bruins will be searching for a 15-0 start to the season as one of only two undefeated teams left in Division 1 (Arizona St. is the other).