UCLA scored the game's final six runs to rally from a 5-1 deficit and beat Oregon St., 7-2, on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole had a rough go of it, giving up five runs in the first three innings, but he did manage to get through five innings and pick up the win to improve his record to 4-3 on the year. The UCLA bullpen then backed Cole up with four scoreless innings, including Gavin Brooks' scoreless ninth that earned him his sixth save of the year.
Following a one out walk in the first, Ryan Ortiz laced a triple to right center, which scored the runner from first and put the Beavers up 1-0. Stefan Romero followed that up with a groun out to second base, but it was good enough to score Ortiz from third and give OSU a 2-0 lead.
As the leadoff batter in the second inning, Cody Decker got all of a 0-1 fastball and hit a towering shot that not only cleared the fence in right center, but also cleared the scoreboard. The home run now gives Decker 14 on the season, which leads the team, and is one more than the entire Oregon St. team has in their 33 games.
Cole got off to a good start in the third inning by retiring the first two batters, but Ortiz bit the Bruins again when he started a two out rally with a single to right. Romero then did more damage to UCLA when he squared up a 1-1 pitch and put it over the fence in left center. Down 4-1, Cole's struggles with his control continued when he walked a batter, hit the next and walked another to load the basis. Cole then balked, allowing the runner from third to score. The freshman was able to get out of the inning after that, but Oregon St. was already ahead by a score of 5-1.
The Bruins' bats woke up in the third and cut into the Beaver lead with three hits and the help of an error. Blair Dunlap led off the inning with a single and after Decker struck out, Casey Haerther came to the plate. Haerther had not started in two weeks due to a broken toe, but he was in the starting lineup Friday night as the DH. He made his return to the lineup count too with a single to right field that put runners on the corners. Tyler Rahmatulla then hit a soft ground out to third, which allowed Dunlap to score and cut the OSU lead to 5-2. Following a passed ball that moved Haerther to third, Gabe Cohen hit a grounder to shortstop that Joey Wong couldn't handle. The play was ruled an error and Haerther scored to make the score 5-3. Cohen stole second to move into scoring position and Niko Gallego singled through the right side to score Cohen and reduce the UCLA deficit to 5-4 heading to the fifth.
In the fifth, UCLA did away with the Oregon St. lead and turned it into one of their own. Justin Uribe hit a one out single up the middle and moved to third on a double by Dunlap. Decker then picked up his second RBI of the night with a deep fly ball to center that scored Uribe. If a single is good, a double is better so Haerther gave the Bruins the lead with a double to right that scored Dunlap and put UCLA ahead 6-5 after five.
Cole exited the game after five innings and gave way to Jason Novak, who faced five batters in a scoreless sixth before turning the ball over to Matt Grace. Grace went right through the Beavers in order.
Dunlap gave the Bruins some comfort in the bottom half of the seventh with a solo shot to center field that hit the batter's eye.
Now up 7-5, Grace went back out to the mound in the eighth and once again sat the Beavers down with a 1-2-3 inning. Brooks came in to finish the job in the ninth and did so without giving up a run, but a double with one out did give Oregon St. two opportunities with the tying run at the plate.
Decker was again the Bruins' star at the plate, going 2-3 with a home run and 2 RBI. Dunlap didn't have a bad night either with a 3-4 effort and three runs scored to go along with his home run. UCLA's three, four and five hitters (Dunlap, Decker and Haerther), combined for seven of the Bruins' 13 hits on the evening.
The win is the Bruins' eighth in their last 11 games and moves their overall record to 18-20 on the year with a 10-6 Pac 10 mark. The win over Oregon St., combined with USC's win over Washington St., bumps both the Bruins and Trojans into second place, a half of a game over the Beavers and Cougars.
UCLA and Oregon St. will play the second game of their three game Pac 10 set on Saturday at 2 pm PDT with Trevor Bauer starting for UCLA and Greg Peavey on the hill for OSU. The series opener was supposed to be televised on a tape-delay basis, but will not due to technical difficulties.