With eight games to go in the season and having lost their series to Cal, the Bruins need to go perfect or damn near close to find a way into a regional. That's an almost absurd expectation considering that their last seven games are against opponents ranked in the top six, but that's the situation the Bruins have put themselves in. Tonight at Jackie Robinson Stadium, the Bruins started that attempt at a perfect or near perfect finish by laying waste to Long Beach St. to the tune of 15-2.
Garett Claypool got the start and came up with another strong midweek start. The junior went 4.1 innings and struck out a career-high eight while allowing only two runs. Rob Rasmussen picked up the win for his 1.2 scoreless innings and the bullpen as a whole combined to throw 4.2 scoreless innings without allowing a hit.
The Bruins picked up a lead in the second period that they would never surrender. Justin Uribe began the inning with a single and he took second base on an error by the Dirtbags' left fielder. Blair Dunlap followed that up with a single to score and after loading the bases, Steve Rodriguez hit into a double play to score Dunlap.
Long Beach St. got a run in the third to make it 2-1, but the Bruins responded with four in the bottom half of the inning. Dunlap drew a bases loaded walk to put the Bruins ahead 3-1 and Chris Giovinazzo hit a bases clearing double on which he earned two RBI and the third run scored on an error.
Ahead 6-1, the Bruins continued to put runs on the board. Eddie Murray led off the fourth with a triple and Gino Aielli brought him home with a double to stretch UCLA's lead to 7-1. After an out and error, Uribe stroked a single that score Aielli and an error in center field allowed UCLA to score a second run to go ahead 9-1.
Long Beach St. got a second run in the fifth to make the score 9-2, but Casey Haerther added to the UCLA lead in the fifth with a two RBI single and Uribe picked up another RBI with an infield single later in the inning.
UCLA finished off the scoring with a three spot in the eighth when Rodriguez came to the plate with two men on and cleared the fence in right field.
Aielli and Uribe were each 3-3 on the evening. Aiellie had three runs and a RBI, while Uribe tallied two runs and two RBI. Rodriguez's home run gave him three RBI, which led the team and Dunlap had a pair of RBI and runs.
UCLA will take their 25-24 record with them to Cal St. Fullerton on Friday night when they take on the Titans in the first game of a three-game set. The Friday night game will be at the Titans' Goodwin Field, while the Saturday and Sunday game will be played at Jackie Robinson Stadium. You can stay up to date on all things UCLA baseball from game updates to news to analysis to the latest on the Bruins' regional chances on my UCLA baseball twitter.