Needing a series win over Washington St. to keep their regional hopes alive, UCLA handed the ball to LHP Tim Murphy in the all-important series opener Friday night. Seemingly oblivious to the pressure, Murphy delivered the Bruins the win they sorely needed with a dominating performance. The junior didn't surrender a hit in the first five innings, gave up only two hits on the night, struck out eight and gave up zero runs in his seven innings of work. By the time Murphy exited the game, UCLA led 9-0 and was well on their way to an eventual 10-0 victory.
UCLA took an early 1-0 lead in the first when CF Blair Dunlap hit a deep drive to right center that cleared the fence, giving Dunlap his first homer of the season. UCLA wasn't able to muster another hit until the fourth when SS Brandon Crawford led off the inning with a single. DH Cody Decker followed with a walk and he and Crawford each advanced a base when LF Mickey Weisser grounded out to first. C Brent Dean came to the plat next and despite falling behind 0-2, was able to foul a few pitches off before hitting a sacrifice fly to right that scored Crawford.
UCLA took a slim 2-0 lead into the sixth, but blew the game wide open with a seven run inning that ended any hope the Cougars had. Amazingly, all seven runs came with two outs as Weisser led off the inning and advanced to third as the following two batters were retired. 3B Jermaine Curtis (wearing a purple and gold wristband that his father told me was in support of the Lakers) walked with two out and Dunlap did as well to load the bases. 2B Alden Carrithers followed with a walk of his own, scoring Weisser from third. 1B Casey Haerther jumped on the first pitch he saw and singled it sharply to left, scoring Curtis and Dunlap. Now up 5-0, UCLA got some help from Washington St. when an error allowed Crawford to get on base and extend the inning. With the bases loaded again, UCLA brought Decker to the plate and he promptly deposited the second pitch he saw over the left field fence for a grand slam to put the Bruins ahead 9-0.
UCLA added a run in the eighth when a ground out by Weisser scored Carrithers from third. After seven innings of work, Murphy gave the ball to LHP Brendan Lafferty who threw two scoreless innings to wrap up the 10-0 Bruin victory.
While Murphy led the Bruins on the mound, it was a collective effort for the Bruins at the plate. All but one Bruin starter reached base on the night and seven of nine scored a run. Carrithers went 2-2 with two runs and a RBI, while Haerther was 3-4 with a run and two RBI. Crawford and Dunlap each had a hit and scored twice, but Decker stole the show with his grand slam despite it being his only hit of the game.
UCLA will look to wrap up this Pac 10 series tomorrow at 1:30. Washington St. will send LH Jayson Miller (7-1, 4.24) to the hill to face off with UCLA's RHP Charles Brewer (7-4, 5.18). The game will be nationally televised on FSN for all you Bruins in exile. If you can't make it out to the game or to a TV, you can listen to it or follow it on GameTracker via the official site.
1) Arizona St. 13-6 (-- GB)
2) Stanford 11-7 (1.5)
3) Washington 10-9 (3.0)
California 11-10 (3.0)
5) Oregon St 11-11 (3.5)
6) UCLA 9-10 (4.0)
7) Arizona 8-10 (4.5)
8) Southern Cal 8-11 (5.0)
9) Washington St. 6-12 (7.0)