The UCLA offense was frustrated for 33 innings this weekend in Corvallis, Oregon, but in the 34th, they finally found a little something. The #4 Bruins put together five runs in the ninth inning, capped by a Brett Krill grand slam to defeat #15 Oregon St., 8-2. This weekend marked the first time that UCLA went on the road and played in an opponent's home park, but the Bruins came away with the series win against a very good team to answer one of the few remaining questions about this team.
When Krill came to the plate in the ninth inning he was 0-4 with three strikeouts, but he more than made up for his rough start with a bomb to center field that cleared the loaded bases. Tyler Rahmatulla also had himself a stellar day at the play with a 3-4 effort, a homer, two doubles, two RBI and two runs. Rahmatulla was the only Bruin to pick up multiple hits, but eight of the nine UCLA starters had a base hit in the game.
Krill's home run as well as the other offensive exploits against one of the nation's better pitching staffs is worth celebration and notice, but not at the expense of yet another strong pitching performance by the Bruins. Rob Rasmussen allowed just two runs on six hits to go along with eight strike outs in his seven innings to pick up the win The southpaw is now 5-0 and has earned the win in his last five starts. Erik Goeddel relieved Rasmussen and struck out three in two scoreless innings for his first save of the year.
It took the Bruins all of three batters to get on the scoreboard in the first inning. A one-out single by Beau Amaral got things going and when Rahmatulla laced a double down the left field line, the speedy Amaral came all the way around to score.
Amaral came around to score a second time in the third inning as UCLA stretched their lead to 2-0. The freshmen drew a walk to lead off the inning and another double by Rahmatulla moved him to third. When Dean Espy lifted a fly ball to center, Amaral was able to tag and score for another Bruin run.
The Beavers got on the board for the first time in the fifth, but some outstanding pitching by Rasmussen kept them from getting more than just the one. A lead off double and consecutive singles brought one in to cut the UCLA lead to 2-1. An attempted pick off at second went awry and gave the Beavers two in scoring position with nobody out. Rasmussen buckled down though and struck out the #9, #1 and #2 batters in the Oregon St. line up to get out of the inning.
While Rasmussen got out of the fifth with the lead, he wouldn't make it out of the sixth. Stefen Romero, who is second in the Pac-10 in homers, added to his total with a solo shot to even the game at 2-2.
Rahmatulla was not content with a tie game though. The right-hander went the other way with a 1-1 pitch, depositing it over the fence for his fourth homer of the year and giving UCLA their lead back at 3-2.
Rasmussen surrendered a lead off single in the eighth to close the book on his day, but Goeddel was there to to put the clamps on the Beaver offense and ensure a UCLA lead after eight innings.
The ninth inning got going when Niko Gallego, who has never been shy about wearing a pitch, was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt and intentional walk to Rahmatulla put two men on base and when Espy singled, the Bruins had the bases juiced. Cody Keefer managed to work a walk, forcing Gallego in from third for a 4-2 Bruin lead. Krill got ahead 3-0 in the count and took a big chance in swinging at the next pitch he saw, but it paid off when it cleared the center field fence.
Goeddel closed the Beavers out in the ninth and the Bruins were able to leave Goss Stadium with a legitimate claim to #1 in the Pac-10 following a series loss by Arizona St. and at the same time, a claim at #1 in the country.