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Cohen Leads UCLA Past Arizona In 7-6 Series Opening Win

Thanks to four RBI from Gabe Cohen, UCLA defeated Arizona 7-6 on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Cohen was 2-3 on the night and one of four Bruins with two hits in the night. Gerrit Cole got the start for the Bruins and gave up three runs in 5.2 innings. Matt Grace earned the win with 2.1 hitless innings of relief and Gavin Brooks recorded his second save of the year.

UCLA got off to a quick start thanks to some very good situational hitting in the first inning against Arizona ace Preston Guilmet. Blair Dunlap led off the game by getting behind 0-2 in the count, but battled back and drew a walk. Eddie Murray came to the plate next and executed a perfect hit in run by slapping a line drive single to right advancing Dunlap to third. Casey Haerther followed up Murray with a hard ground ball up the middle that Arizona turned for a double play, but Dunlap scored from first on the play.

Neither team scored in the second inning, but with two out in the third inning Arizona drove a pitch over the center field wall for a solo home run to tie the score 1-1. 

The Bruins took the lead back in the fifth inning and it started with a leadoff single by Niko Gallego. After the next batter made an out, Murray roped a triple over the right fielder's head to put UCLA up 2-1. A throwing error by Arizona on a Haerther ground ball allowed Murray to score and UCLA went to the sixth up 3-1.

The UCLA lead wouldn't last long though. Cole gave up a leadoff home run to Brad Glenn that made the score 3-2 and after a Wildcat reached base with two out, Cole was pulled. Jason Novak came in for Cole, but didn't fare well, giving up a double that brought a run in and walk before getting the hook. Grace came in for Novak and got the Bruins out of the inning, but the score was tied at three.

UCLA took the lead back for good in the bottom of the sixth when the game turned into the Gabe Cohen show. Alex Weber-Shapiro led off the inning with a walk and Marc Navarro came in to pinch run. Down 0-2 in the count, Cohen got a pitch on the inner half and pulled it down the left field line for a double that scored Navarro to make it 4-3.

With Grace sitting down the Wildcats in order in the seventh, the UCLA batters came to the plate still ahead by one. The inning didn't get off to a promising start when the first two batters were retired, but a two run rally started with a single by Justin Uribe. Cody Decker singled to put runners on first and second and he also ended the day for Guilmet, who got the hook. In came arguably the conference's best reliever Jason Stoffel, but he came out wild and walked Navarro to load the bases. Down 0-2 in the count again, Cohen came through when he hit a ball as hard as it could be hit down the right field line. The ball got into the corner for a triple that emptied the bases for Cohen's fourth RBI of the game that made the score 7-3.

Grace cruised through the eighth and turned the ball over to Brooks in the ninth. Brooks hit the first batter he faced, but made a good pitch to induce a ground ball to the next batter. The ground ball to the shortstop Gallego was flipped to second for one out, however, Murray bobbled the ball on the turn and was unable to turn the double play. A single put runners on first and second and with two outs, brought up the man who already had one homer to his credit, Brad Glenn. Glenn bested his last home run, hitting a three run shot down the left field line that is one of the farther balls Jackie Robinson Stadium has ever seen hit. That bomb brought up Arizona's best hitter in a 7-6 game, but Brooks beared down and threw a fastball at the eyes that the Arizona batters swung through for strike three.

UCLA escaped Jackie Robinson Stadium with a 7-6 win, the sixth UCLA win in their last eight games. In addition to Cohen's outstanding game, Murray, Decker and Gallego all chipped in with two hit efforts. UCLA is now 9-13 on the year and 3-1 in Pac 10 play. They will look to improve upon that record tomorrow at 2 pm PDT when they face off the Wildcats yet again. As always, if you can't make it out to the game, you can listen to it or follow it on GameTracker via the official site.