UCLA Tops Oregon St. In 16 Inning Epic, 3-1

Steve Rodriguez's 16th inning single gave UCLA the win in an epic contest versus Oregon St. (Photo Credit: Official Site)

16 innings. Six hours and 24 minutes. 27 position players. 11 pitchers. It took all of that, some great defense, excellent pitching and a slew of missed opportunities for UCLA and Oregon St. to finally end an incredible and key Pac-10 game at the Beavers' Goss Stadium. Eventually, UCLA's Steve Rodriguez played the role of hero when he drove in the winning runs in the 16th inning, handing the Bruins a 3-1 win to even the series at one game apiece.

Trevor Bauer got the start for UCLA, even if most in attendance couldn't remember that by the 16th inning. The sophomore threw 7.1 scoreless innings and allowed just six hits while striking out eight in the no decision. Dan Klein relieved him and got the Bruins out of an eighth inning jam, but blew the save in the ninth when he allowed his first run of the season in his 17th appearance. Matt Grace went 1.1 innings without allowing a run before Garett Claypool's 4.2 innings of one-hit, five strikeout ball earned him the win to improve to 4-1 on the year.

Not only was Rodriguez the hero with the game-winning hit, but he picked up three more in a 4-8 showing at the plate with two RBI. Dean Espy went 2-5 before being substituted and Niko Gallego and Cody Keefer, batting 1-2, each had a pair of hits. Tyler Rahmatulla was hit-less in the game, but he walked four times in the contest. The UCLA offense wasted an unbelievable number of chances though and almost lost the game as a result. The Bruins left 22 men on base and couldn't score in extra innings until the 16th despite putting a runner in scoring position in each extra inning.

The Bruins had trouble cashing guys in right from the beginning, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, but they finally got one across in the fifth.

Gallego singled with one out in the fifth frame and Keefer followed with a double. Rahmatulla had a check swing grounder to second, enough to allow Gallego to score from third. The Bruins did leave Keefer on third though.

UCLA left the bases loaded again in the seventh inning and in the ninth, they wasted another opportunity with two men on base.

While the Bruins were leaving guys on base left and right, Bauer was cruising for UCLA. It wasn't until the fourth inning that he allowed his first hit and a double play followed so the Beavers never got much going.

The bottom of the fifth inning was an exhibition in fielders helping their pitcher out. After a lead off double, Oregon St. hit a hard grounder in the hole between shortstop and third base. Gallego, the shortstop, dove for it and snagged it, then jumped to his knees and threw to third where Cody Regis applied the tag. Later in the inning, a two out single looked as if it would score a man from second, but Keefer made a strong throw to the plate and Rodriguez applied the tag to deny the Beavers.

The Beavers picked up a lead off double in the seventh, but Bauer got a key strike out to get the final out of the inning. In the eighth, the home team picked up another lead off double and a sacrifice bunt moved him to third. Klein relieved Bauer at this point and induced a ground ball to Rahmatulla at second that the runner inexplicably did not come home to score on despite Rahmatulla playing back. Klein got the next batter on a strikeout, but the ninth wouldn't go as well.

Another lead off double by Oregon St. was finally cashed in when a single followed to tie the game at 1-1. The Beavers pushed Klein some more by putting runners at first and second, but they couldn't score the winning run.

Each team had chances in the tenth, UCLA with Espy at third with only one out, but Trevor Brown, who head coach John Savage inserted for the righty vs. lefty match-up, grounded to shortstop and the Beavers threw home to get Espy trying to score. The Beavers loaded the bases with one out, but a force play at home and strikeout ended that threat.

The 11th inning presented UCLA with yet another chance. Rodriguez led off the inning with a single, but Gallego popped up his attempted sacrifice bunt, the second time a Bruin did that. Keefer picked up a base hit to put runners at first and second with just one out, but Rahmatulla struck out and Marc Navarro, who was inserted for another lefty vs. righty match-up, also struck out.

The same situation, runners at first and second, came up in the bottom half of the 11th inning, but there was Grace to come through with a strikeout to end the inning.

Coach Savage's match-up substitutions and poor execution hurt the Bruins in the 12th and resulted in more runners left on base. A lead off double by Krill that battered the fence in left field was followed by a balk, putting the go-ahead run on third with nobody out. Because of the substitution pinch-hitting Brown for Regis earlier in the game, Adrian Williams, who had all of six at-bats in the season had to hit and he flied out to short right field. Uribe had the opportunity to win it, but for the second time in the game he popped up a bunt, this time on a squeeze attempt. Rodriguez hit a ball pretty well, but it was just a deep fly out to right to end yet another inning with runners left on for UCLA.

The Bruins had their chance to score so it was only fair that the Beavers had theirs in the 12th. A one-out double got things going and an intentional walk put two men on. Grace was pulled in favor of Claypool, who got a pair of fly outs to end the Oregon St. 12th.

Just for fun, UCLA got a lead off double from Gallego to start the 13th inning, but a pop up and then ground ball to shortstop put two outs on the board. The Bruins' substitution earlier in the game also lost them their DH so Claypool had to hit and he struck out, looking very much like the pitcher that he is.

A single by Williams and a walk by Amaral put two very fast runners on base in the 14th inning, but fast runners doesn't mean much when you hit a tailor made double play ball behind second base. That's what Uribe did and the shortstop fielded it easily before stepping on second and throwing to first to end the inning.

Another opportunity fell by the wayside in the 15th. Rodriguez doubled to start the inning, but a strike out and grounder to second brought Claypool to the plate with a chance to give UCLA the lead. Just as was the case last time that Claypool had to hit because the Bruins lost their DH, he looked very much like a pitcher and weakly grounded to third.

Finally, in the 16th inning, UCLA tallied. Krill singled to start things off and Williams got a sacrifice bunt down to move him to second. Amaral hit a weak grounder that the Beavers went to third with and the ball beat Krill to the bag. The tag was less than stellar though and the umpire called Krill safe on the epitome of a bang. bang play. Oregon St. head coach Pat Casey got ejected arguing the call, but Krill got to stay on the base. Jeff Gelalich, a little used freshman, was called upon to pinch hit and he battled to earn a walk, setting the stage for Rodriguez, who roped a single to right, scoring two.

Claypool got to go out to the mound to finish things off in the bottom half of the 16th and finish things he did. The senior sat down the Beavers 1-2-3 and the Bruins were finally winners.

With the series tied at one apiece, the key Pac-10 set will be decided tomorrow when the Bruins and Beavers square off at Goss Stadium one more time. Rob Rasmussen (4-0, 2.95 ERA) will start for UCLA and Sam Gaviglio (1-0, 1.35 ERA) will get the nod for Oregon St. in a game that will start at noon PDT.

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