UCLA got some very bad news to start the day, just piling on to the bad feelings after last night's 10 inning loss to Stanford in the series opener. Star hitter Casey Haerther was diagnosed with a broken toe after fouling a pitch off of the toe in last night's game. While we still do not know how bad the toe is, Haerther will not be able to field at least for now and could only pinch hit tonight. Haerther fouled out in his only at-bat and looked slow jogging to first, but his bat wasn't needed tonight.
His bat wasn't needed because the Bruins had Cody Decker, who hit his 11th and 12th homer of the year tonight and led the Bruins to a 8-5 win over Stanford to improve their record to 13-18 and 6-5 in conference play. The loss dropped Stanford back into a fourth place tie with UCLA and fast rising USC.
The Bruins got the scoring going in the first inning and had totaled three before a single out was recorded. Eddie Murray led off the game with a walk and Blair Dunlap followed with a double that one hopped the fence in left center field to score Murray all the way from first. Then, Decker came to the plate and launched a home run to left center field that put UCLA ahead 3-0. After an out, Chris Amezquita doubled for the Bruins, but the freshman never reached third.
Stanford began to chip away at the UCLA lead in the third inning when Brent Milleville hit a towering homer to left center field that cleared not only the fence, but the trees beyond the fence.
The Stanford offense really got going in the fourth when they tallied two to tie the game. The Cardinal's first three batters of the inning all singled, scoring a run and putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Following a fly out, Jonathan Kaskow doubled home a run to tie the game at three. UCLA was able to get out of the inning though thanks to a pop up and strikeout.
UCLA starting pitcher Trevor Bauer had a rough fifth inning and as a result, Stanford took the lead. Following a leadoff single, Bauer committed a balk that allowed the runner to take second. The next batter laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Bauer made an error and the runners were safe on the corners. A fielder's choice got the runner going to second, but it also plated the runner from third and the Cardinal took a 4-3 lead. Toby Gerhart then singled through the left side and after another fielder's choice that got the runner at second, Bauer threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score. In total, Bauer had a balk, an error and a wild pitch in the inning so by the time it all ended, the Cardinal led 5-3.
Amezquita led off the sixth inning for the Bruins with a walk and following Haerther's pinch hit fly out, Chris Giovinazzo singled to left center, allowing Amezquita to take third. Stanford then returned the favor, throwing a wild pitch that allowed a run to score, just as Bauer did a half inning earlier. After six innings, the Bruins trailed the Cardinal 5-4.
With one out in the seventh inning, Dunlap singled through the left side, setting the stage for Decker once again. Again, Decker did not disappoint, smacking his second home run of the game, a two run blast to left field that put the Bruins ahead 6-5.
Rob Rasmussen relieved Bauer to begin the seventh inning, closing the book on Bauer after six innings of five run (four earned), eight hit ball. Rasmussen had a relatively easy seventh, but got a pretty big scare in the eighth with one out and a runner on first. Milleville laced a shot up the middle that Rasmussen never saw, but the ball found its way into the southpaw's glove and he was able to throw to second to begin the inning ending 1-6-3 double play.
UCLA got something going again in the ninth inning when Dunlap began the inning with a bunt that was fielded by the pitcher and tossed to first, where Milleville inexplicably dropped the ball. Decker continued his hot hitting with a single and Justin Uribe walked to load the bases with nobody out. Amezquita popped up to first, keeping the bases juiced, but the left handed pinch hitter Marc Navarro did a good job with a pitch on the outer half in driving it to left field for a sacrifice fly to score Dunlap. Gino Aielli then singled up the middle to score Decker from second base and UCLA took a 8-5 lead over Stanford.
That cushion allowed Rasmussen to relax in the ninth, but the Cardinal didn't allow him to relax for long. With two out, Stanford putting runners on first and second and brought the powerful Gerhart to the plate as the tying run. Rasmussen rose to the occassion though and threw a fantastic curveball to get Gerhart to strikeout.
Bauer earned the win for the Bruins to improve to 4-2 and 3-0 as a starter. Rasmussen picked up his first save of the year, a three inning save in which he walked three, but allowed only one hit and no runs. Decker was the star at the plate, going 3-4 with two homers, four RBI and three runs. Dunlap was 2-5 with three runs as well, while Giovinazzo also chipped in with a pair of hits.
The Bruins and Cardinal will play the rubber game of the three game set tomorrow at 1 pm PDT. The game will be televised live on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV) and Charles Brewer will take the hill for the Bruins against Stanford's Brett Mooneyham. You can watch this huge game for both teams on TV or head over to the official site for GameTracker and the audio call. There will also be an open thread here on BN so tune in and join us as the Bruins look for the key series win.