The pitching was there, as it has been for most of the season. The efficiency with the bats and good power was something that has eluded the Bruins for well over a month, but on Friday night, it was back. UCLA belted three home runs and only left seven, three of which came in an inning that the Bruins already got two runs. With that type of hitting and the usual stout pitching, UCLA defeated Washington, 7-2, in the opening game of a Pac-10 road series. The win evened up the Bruins' conference record at 8-8 and along with Tuesday's win over Pepperdine, is a nice statement of resiliency after being swept by Arizona St. a week ago.
While the power on offense was a nice surprise, the power on the mound was anything but. Gerrit Cole, who leads the Pac-10 in strikeouts, kept it going with nine in eight innings on Friday to earn the win and improve to 7-2. The sophomore carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings. Cole surrendered just two runs on three hits and he walked just two, an encouraging number that helped propel him to his third consecutive strong start. Dan Klein allowed to hits, but not runs in his ninth inning duties.
Not since March 19th had the Bruins hit three home runs, but on Friday they did. Cody Regis hit his first home run of his career as the freshman went 2-3 with a run scored and two RBI. Blair Dunlap hit his fifth home run on the year, a two-run shot that tied him for the team lead and Beau Amaral walked in addition to is solo shot. Chris Giovinazzo chipped in with two hits and two RBI and Niko Gallego came across to score twice.
There was little action early on as Cole dominated the Husky hitters and the best that the UCLA offense could muster was a walk and a single in the second. The UCLA third didn't look like it would amount to much either as the first two batters were retired, but Amaral got ahead in the count, 2-1, and drove a pitch over the fence in right center to put the Bruins up, 1-0.
UCLA's next runs came via the long ball as well two innings later. Giovinazzo led off the inning with a single and unlike Amaral, Dunlap fell behind in the count. Even so, the senior was able to smack one the other way for a two-run shot to right field.
The very next inning brought some more UCLA power. This time the base runner reached on an error, but he got to come home in a nice trot thanks to Regis' blast to right. The freshman turned on a 1-1 pitch and put it out for a 5-1 UCLA lead.
Cole had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning, but that, and the shutout, were gone with one swing of the bat. A solo homer to left center started the Huskies' sixth and cut the Bruin lead to 5-1.
A lead off walk by Brett Krill started the UCLA rally in the eighth inning that put the game to bed. After an out, Gallego doubled to put runners at second and third and an intentional walk loaded the bases. Giovinazzo came through with a single up the middle, bringing two in to score for a 7-1 Bruin advantage. A hit by pitch loaded the bases, but a pop up and strikeout put an end to the frame.
After eight strong innings, Cole was given the chance to finish the game off. A hit by pitch and walk to start the ninth ended his hopes for a complete game, though, and the right-hander was pulled in favor of Klein. Consecutive singles started Klein's outing and plated a run, but an infield fly, strikeout and ground out ended the game with the Bruins 7-2 winners.
The Bruins, who are 10-2 on the road this year, will look to pick up the series win tomorrow at 2 pm PDT when they take on the Huskies in Seattle. Trevor Bauer (6-3, 2.81 ERA) will started for the Bruins and Andrew Kittredge (6-3, 5.33 ERA) will get the nod for UW.