Trevor Bauer continued a dominant run, striking out 12 to give him 42 in his last three starts (Photo Credit: Official Site)
The rain finally went away and let UCLA and Cal Poly play, but the Bruins only remembered to bring their bats for one game and had to settle for a split of the day's doubleheader. As has been the case too often this season, UCLA's offense was non-existant in game one of the doubleheader and they managed just five hits in a 2-1 loss. In game two of the doubleheader, the offense struck early with six runs in the first two innings before cruising to a 8-0 victory. With the split, UCLA will now head into Friday's Pac-10 opener against USC with a 9-7 record, below what was expected, but still with the chance to make a run at a Pac-10 title and Regional host spot with a good conference record.
While the Bruins were hoping to get more than a split this weekend, what they were really hoping for was to play the scheduled three games. Because last week was finals week for UCLA, the Bruins and Mustangs were scheduled to play on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, only Mother Nature didn't get the message. Rain wiped out Saturday and Sunday's games and rain early on Monday even put the doubleheader in doubt, but the sun finally peaked out and let the two teams get a pair of games in.
Someone forgot to tell the Bruin offense that they were supposed to play two games on Monday though. Outside of Cody Regis, who went 2-2 with a home run, the offense was non-existant and wasted more good pitching. Gerrit Cole is scheduled to pitch on Friday so he was put on a strict pitch count and only got to throw two innings. The junior had no issues in those two innings, keeping the Mustangs off of the scoreboard and striking out three before turning the game over to Adam Plutko. The freshman came in and did a good job in striking out seven, but it wasn't enough and for the second time in as many starts he got the loss for a six inning, two run performance.
Before UCLA could even get good pitching in the second game of the doubleheader, the offense had finally showed signs of life. Two first inning runs and four in the second set the tone, but it wasn't too necessary with Trevor Bauer on the hill. The right-hander allowed just two hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out 12 to give him an astonishing 42 strike outs in his last three starts. Of course, the runs didn't hurt and the offense provided them thanks to Tyler Rahmatulla's 3-5 effort with a pair of runs and Tyler Heineman and Dean Espy each picking up a pair of hits and RBI.
The day started poorly for the Bruins with Rahmatulla's first inning single being wiped out by a double play and two strike outs in the second inning didn't make things much better.
For Cole, his outing would be short. He was on his game from the beginning, striking out three, but there was only a beginning for Cole, no middle or end. The Bruins stuck with the pitch count they set for him so he would be ready to go on Friday and after two innings his day was done. As has been the case of late though, Cole exited without a run of support, making it 19.1 straight innings that Cole has been on the mound without getting a run of support.
Plutko came in for Cole, but he couldn't get much run support either. The Mustangs had gotten the lead off man on base in three of the first four innings without pushing a run across, but finally in the fifth they did. A lead off single got Cal Poly going and a sacrifice bunt moved him to second. A ground out moved the base runner to third base and when Rahmatulla got to a grounder in the hole but couldn't get the throw to first in time for the out, the runner at third scored for a 1-0 Cal Poly lead.
In the sixth inning a lead off single and sacrifice bunt paid dividends again. With that to start off the inning all it took was a single to score a second run for Cal Poly and they got that single to stretch their lead to 2-0.
It wasn't until the eighth inning that UCLA managed anything resembling an offense when Regis smacked his first home run of the season to cut the Cal Poly lead in half, but it wouldn't be enough. The Bruins never got two men on base at the same time and Regis' home run marked the only time a Bruin made it to third base as UCLA dropped the first game of the doubleheader.
If things were going to turn around in the second game of the doubleheader, it would require some offense and that's what they got from the beginning. Rahmatulla started the game with a double to right center and took third on a sacrifice bunt so when Espy singled to right, UCLA had a 1-0 lead. A single by Chris Giovinazzo and then a walk loaded up the bases with two outs and Heineman drew a walk, forcing a run in for a 2-0 Bruin edge.
The second inning was even better than the first as Adrian Williams and Rahmatulla started off the frame with singles and Brian Carroll reached on an error to load the bases with none out. Once again, Espy was there with a RBI single as Williams came in to score. Giovinazzo followed with a ground ball to shortstop that got Espy at second base, but the fielder's choice scored Rahmatulla and the Bruins were ahead 4-0. Two singles followed by Trevor Brown and Heineman, each scoring a run and pushing that UCLA lead to 6-0 in the second inning.
While the offense was finding its groove, Bauer was in one of his own. He was sitting down batters left and right, adding strike out after strike out to his line. His 12 on Monday pushed him into third on the UCLA all-time strike outs list and was the fourth time in his five starts this season that he'd struck out at least 10.
Meanwhile, UCLA added a couple more runs to their total. A one out single by Heineman in the fifth was followed by Beau Amaral being hit by a pitch so when Rahmatulla singled, Heineman came around to score for a 7-0 UCLA lead. A lead off double by Regis in the seventh inning led to a run when Beau Amaral's ground out scored him and the Bruins had their 8-0 lead that would prove to be the winning margin.
When Bauer's day came to an end after seven innings, Mitchell Beacom entered and tossed a scoreless eighth before Nick Vander Tuig struck out a pair in a perfect ninth to finish things up.