From the diaries. GO BRUINS. -N
The #13 UCLA baseball team took 2 of 3 from #23 Winthrop to win the season opening series. The Bruins edged the Eagles 2-1 in the Friday opener, then dropped the 2nd game 6-4 before demolishing the Eagles 19-5 in the rubber game Sunday.
Friday's game was a barnburner and a great pitching matchup. The Bruins trotted out Sr. ace Tyson Brummet, while the Eagles gave All-American Alex Wilson the nod. Each team registered a run in the first, Winthrop's off a few soft singles and UCLA's via a Wilson wild pitch. After getting the opening game nerves out of the way, both pitchers buckled down and gave the fans the pitching duel they expected. Wilson went 5.2 innings without giving up an earned run while striking out 5. Brummet went 8 strong innings, giving up only 6 hits and run run while retiring 15 of the last 16 batters he faced. The game was deadlocked at 1-1 until the bottom of the ninth, when UCLA pushed a run across with help from the Eagles. With 2 out, Sr. Will Pennial laced a pinch-hit, 2 out double. Then, So. Ryan Babineau skied a pop up to second base, but the Eagles 2B lost it in the lights and allowed the go ahead run to score. In the ninth, Sr. Brant Rustich came in and worked his way out of a jam when the Eagles put runners on the corners to earn his first save of the season and give the Bruins a perfect 1-0 record.
The Bruins entered the Saturday with a large question mark. How would Sr. Paul Schmidt fare? Schmidt, used mostly out of the bullpen last year was forced into the starting role due to Fr. Charles Brewer's bout with mono. Schmidt did well in the first, but the second inning didn;t turn out as well as the bruins surrendered all 6 runs the Eagles would score all game. Schmidt was pulled and in the 3rd So. Jason Novak entered and threw 4.2 scoreless innings before So. Brendan Lafferty relieved him to finish off the last 1.2 scoreless as well. The bright spot for the Bruins was Jr. Micky Weisser, who went 2-4 in the second consecutive game. The Bruins' 6-4 loss left both they and the Eagles at 1-1 on the season with Sunday's rubber match to go.
The fate of the series fell on the shoulders of Fr. Gavin Brooks, making his first career start. The Bruins offense relieved Brooks of that pressure early and UCLA cruised to a 19-5 victory. Winthrop actually tallied first, notching a run in the first, but the Bruins took control in the 2nd thanks to 5 runs. It was a team effort, bringing in the 5 runs as the Bruins batted around and Babineau, Fr. Gabe Cohen, Jr. Alden Carrithers and Pennial all notched RBI. The Bruins got another run in the 3rd, but broke the game wide open in the 4th with 13 runs. The Bruins put the first 11 batters in the 4th on-base and finished the innings with 7 singles and 5 doubles. However, the highlight of the 13 run inning came courtesy of Cohen who hit a grand slam in his first career start. Cohen finished 3-4 with 5 RBI and So. Tim Murphy finished the game was a career high 4 hits. Carrithers and Babineau also finished with 3 hits and Carrithers had 4 RBI to go with it, while Babineau had 3 RBI and 3 runs. Brooks gave up 2 runs in a meager 4 innings mostly because his arm got cold while watching the 4th inning outburst. The 19 runs was the most in Coach John Savage's tenure and the win gave the Bruins a 2-1 record with a series win over the #23 ranked Eagles.
The Bruins next travel to #2 Miami for a big 3 game set with the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes took 2 of 3 from the Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium last year and the Bruins return the trip this year by visiting Alex Rodriguez Stadium in Coral Gables. Brummet will surely get the Friday start again and Brooks will likely get the Sunday start, but look for Novak to get the Saturday start. This will be one of the most hyped up series of the weekend and it can be seen live via the internet by visiting hurricanesports.com.