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Bruins Open Season With 16-2 Demolition of Southern

Blair Dunlap kicked off the 2010 season with a home run on the first pitch (Photo Credit: Official Site)
Blair Dunlap kicked off the 2010 season with a home run on the first pitch (Photo Credit: Official Site)

It didn't take the Bruins long. The first pitch that UCLA saw this season was deposited over the left field fence by Blair Dunlap for a home run and the Bruins were off and running. A UCLA team that was supposed to be short on hitting and power specifically showed nothing to give the fans any concern as they finished their first game of the 2010 season with 16 hits and seven extra base hits, four of which were home runs. While the offense was clicking, Gerrit Cole got the start for the Bruins and gave up two runs, one hit and struck out nine in six innings as UCLA cruised to a 16-2 win over Southern

After Dunlap's homer in the first, Tyler Rahmatulla and Brett Krill each singled, then Justin Uribe was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Dean Espy followed with a sharp line drive to center that should have been a sacrifice fly, but the ball was dropped by the Southern centerfielder, scoring one and keeping the bases loaded. Next, freshman Cody Keefer singled in his first collegiate at-bat, scoring another run to give UCLA a 3-0 edge. After Chris Giovinazzo struck out swinging, Steve Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to push another run across. In his second at-bat of the inning, Dunlap laid down a perfect bunt for a single to score another run, then Niko Gallego doubled to score three runs. Rahmatulla came through with his second single of the inning after that, scoring Gallego and giving UCLA a 9-0 lead after one inning.

With one out in the second inning, Espy hit a solo home run to left, the Junior College transfer's first at the Division 1 level.

Going into the fourth inning, Cole had struck out six and was throwing a perfect game, but a hit batter with one out ended that. The following batter then tripled on a chopper down the right field line to score a run, ending Cole's no-hitter and shutout. A sacrifice fly followed to cut the Bruins' lead to 10-2.

The Bruins got both of the runs back and one more in the bottom half of the fourth when Rodriguez followed a walk by Keefer and single by Giovinazzo with a home run to right field to make the score 13-2.

UCLA got on the board in one more inning, tallying three in the seventh. Gallego led of the inning with a solo home run, the first of his career, to make it a 14-2 game. Rahmatulla walked and Krill singled to put runners on the corners and a sacrifice fly by Uribe plated one more run. When Keefer doubled two batters later, the Bruins had scored one more to give them a 16-2 lead and put a cap on the game's scoring.

After Cole's six innings, Matt Grace came on to throw a perfect seventh inning with a strikeout. Garett Claypool gave up one hit int he eight inning while striking out two and then Brandon Lodge made his collegiate pitching debut with a one-hit ninth inning, nothing two strikeouts of his own.

Gallego led the way at the plate for the Bruins with a 2-5 effort, two runs scored and four RBI, while Rodriguez had two runs and four RBI of his own. Dunlap and Krill each had three hits and Dunlap also chipped in with two runs and two RBI. Six freshmen got into the game for UCLA, but Keefer was the only freshman to start and he made it count, going 2-3  with a pair of runs and RBI.

The 1-0 Bruins will return to the field tomorrow at 6 pm PST when they head to the MLB Urban Youth Academy to take on a tough Bethune Cookman team in a game that can be watched on MLB Network (DirecTV channel 213, Time Warner channel 267) or on Trevor Bauer will take to the hill for UCLA as he looks to back up his 2009 Freshman Pitcher of the Year season.