Rob Rasmussen pitched 6.2 great innings, but only barely got the win (Photo Credit: Official Site)
The past two games, the Bruins have had a nasty habit of making things closer than they have to be. Even so, both times they were able to close things out for the win. On Sunday, UCLA allowed Washington to score four runs in the ninth to make what was a 7-2 comfortable UCLA lead, a close 7-6 ballgame. The Bruins finally got the outs they needed in the ninth, though, securing the series sweep in Seattle, their first Pac-10 sweep of the season. The win also propelled the Bruins into a second place tie in the Pac-10 with Stanford and Cal (Cal has one game remaining this weekend versus Washington St.) with a 10-8 record to go along with a 34-10 overall mark.
After hitting three home runs in each of the last two games, the Bruins hit just one on Sunday, but it didn't matter with starting pitcher Rob Rasmussen dealing. The junior allowed only one run on five hits in 6.2 innings of work to pick up the win. At no point was Rasmussen not in control of the game and he deserved every bit of the win as he improved to 7-2 on the campaign. Erik Goeddel allowed a run in his 0.2 innings before Matt Grace tossed 0.2 scoreless. Dan Klein, pitching in his third game in as many days, may have tired because he allowed four runs in the ninth inning, but he still managed to finish out the game.
Just because the Bruins didn't hit the three home runs that they hit in each of the first two games doesn't mean that they struggled. UCLA knocked out 13 hits, led by Blair Dunlaps' 3-4, two RBI, one run effort. Dean Espy provided the power with the team's lone homer in a 2-3, two run, RBI performance. Justin Uribe and Brett Krill each went 2-2 as well. Tyler Rahmatulla chipped in with a pair of hits and Beau Amaral picked up a base knock to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
Before Rasmussen even took to the Husky Ballpark mound, he already had himself a lead. Amaral started the game with a base hit and singles by Dunlap and Uribe followed. Then, a wild pitch allowed Amaral to come across for the game's opening run.
When Rasmussen went out for his second inning of work, the UCLA lead was 3-0. Jeff Gelalich walked to start the inning and following the inning's first out, stole second. After a groundout moved Gelalich ahead 90 feet, Dunlap singled again to bring Gelalich home. A single by Rahmatulla allowed Dunlap to go from first to third and another wild pitch let him come across for the Bruins' third run.
Dunlap was the man with the two-out RBI single again in the fourth. Krill singled to start the inning, but was still hanging around on base with two outs when Dunlap's base hit got the job done and let him score for a 4-0 Bruin advantage.
Singles by Uribe and Espy in the fifth put two on with only one out and after Niko Gallego doubled to right, the Bruins had a 5-0 lead. Steve Rodriguez followed with a simple squeeze bunt to score another and the UCLA lead was 6-0.
Washington finally got to Rasmussen in the bottom half of the fifth when a double was cashed in by a sacrifice fly, but that's all they would get off of the lefty and by the time he exited, the Bruin lead has been extended.
A one-out blast by Espy that is still orbiting the earth got the Bruins one more and while it seemed like just another run at the time, it proved to be the game-winner.
After a two-out single by the Huskies in the seventh, Rasmussen was pulled in favor of Goeddel, who got out of the inning.
Goeddel also retired one batter in the eighth, but he also walked one and surrendered a double that allowed a run to score. Even so, Grace came in to get the final two outs of the inning and handed the ball off to Klein for him to finish things off.
Klein, who pitched both Friday and Saturday, struggled. The right-hander allowed a one-out solo home run, then a three-run homer before he got another out. With his lead cut down to one, Klein buckled down and got the ground out and strike out necessary to put a cap on the game.
The Bruins will take to the field again on Tuesday at 6 pm PDT when they send Garett Claypool to the mound in a visit to a struggling UC Irvine team.