Any concerns about whether UCLA would buckle under the pressure of being the top-ranked team in the country were put to rest on Tuesday night when an incredibly young Bruin team sprinkled with back-ups defeated UC Riverside, 10-0, thanks to the six pitchers who combined to pitch a two-hitter. With the win, UCLA improves to 26-3 on the campaign and 6-1 in seven road games. the best record away from home of the RPI top 100.
The shutout was the Bruins' first of the season and the two hits that the pitching staff allowed matched their best effort of the season. The six UCLA pitchers combined to strike out 11 Highlanders to only one walk on the evening as starting pitching Garett Claypool picked up the win to improve to 5-1. After Claypool struck out five in three hitless innings, Matt Drummond threw a pair of innings himself. He was backed up by Scott Griggs, Mitchell Beacom, Matt Grace and Dan Klein, who each threw a single scoreless inning.
A two-hitter is pretty good and the UCLA hitters were equally as good. Five freshmen, three sophomores and a junior made up the UCLA starting nine and the offense didn't miss a beat. Jeff Gelalich went 2-3 with two runs and three RBI, while Trevor Brown went 2-3 with a pair of runs scored. Adrian Williams scored a pair of runs and drove one in his 2-5 effort in his first start of the season. Tyler Rahmatulla was one of two Bruin starters to go hitless, but he did drive in two runs.
Things started quick for UCLA thanks to some poor Highlander defense, something that would become a theme in the contest. Gelalich reached first on an error and when a pick off attempt scooted by the first baseman, Gelalich was able to scamper all the way to third. A simple fly ball to center by Rahmatulla was all it took for Gelalich to score and put UCLA ahead by a run.
The one run lead became a two run lead when Williams singled to score Cody Regis, who reached on a walk, from second base.
UCLA put the game away in the fourth thanks to a big Gelalich hit. After Brown singled, Beau Amaral was hit by a pitch and Williams reached on a fielder's choice, Gelalich came to the plate with the base loaded. The freshman roped one all the way to the wall for a tripl to bring around three for a 5-0 UCLA edge.
The sixth inning brought more runs and it got going with one out when Brown, Williams and Amaral all singled consecutively to score a run. Rahmatulla followed with his second sacrifice fly of the ballgame for the inning's socing run.
With the Bruins' lead up to 7-0, they could have quit, but didn't. They kept pushing and in the eight it paid off. Chris Giovinazzo was hit by a pitch and Gelalich singled to put two on so when Dean Espy doubled off of the wall, Giovinazzo came around to score easily. After a Marc Navarro walk, Brett Krill singled to score Gelalich from third and when Justin Uribe hit into a fielder's choice, Espy scored to give the game its 10-0 final score.
The Bruins return home this weekend when they host Oregon in a Pac-10 series at Jackie Robinson Stadium. First pitch on Friday is at 6 pm PDT and it is followed by a 2 pm PDT start before the series finished at noon PDT on Sunday.