In recent years USC has been the best cure to all of UCLA's ills. After all, what can you call a team that you've beaten 14 times in your last 18 games against them? Well, after Saturday night you call them a team you've beaten 15 times in your last 19 games against them. On Saturday night though, it didn't matter who the opposing team was. Whether you put a team like UCLA out there that has dominated USC recently or any other team out there, UCLA was going to dominate and that was thanks to Trevor Bauer. The junior right-hander threw a one hit shutout to lead UCLA to a 4-0 win over USC and insure that the Bruins would stretch their streak of consecutive seasons without losing a series to the Trojans to six.
It is not as if Bauer had to going. The right-hander was dominant from the first pitch on and didn't surrender a hit until there was one out in the eighth inning. Even so, Bauer moved into first place on the UCLA career strike outs list with a 14 strike out game to push him past Alex Sanchez's former record of 328 strike outs in career. The 14 strike outs also gave Bauer 56 in his last four games, an average of 14 per game. As impressive is Bauer's strike out total may be, he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and didn't lose his hitter until the eighth inning in a one hit, shutout victory for UCLA.
At the plate there wasn't a huge offensive out put but it was respectable and balanced. UCLA tallied 10 hits and while only one of those may have gone from extra bases, they got the base knocks necessary to post the runs they needed to win the contest. A night after walked seven times, the Bruins also drew four more walks to help the cause. Cody Regis led the way with a pair of hits and RBI, the only Bruin with multiple hits, but every other member of the UCLA starting lineup picked up a hit to spread the offense up and down the order.
While the offense took a few innings to get going, Bauer and the UCLA defense were on their game from the beginning. A fantastic sliding catch on the warning track in right center by Beau Amaral kept the lead off man off of the bases in the second inning and helped put another zero on the board so the offense could go to work in the fourth.
A double by Dean Espy started to the UCLA half of the fourth and a sacrifice bunt by Regis moved Espy to third base. Chris Giovinazzo followed with a base hit to left that scored Espy and put the Bruins ahead 1-0. UCLA wasn't done though and a walk by Jeff Gelalich put two men on so when Pat Valaika singled, Giovinazzo came around from second to score for a 2-0 UCLA edge. The runs kept on coming for the Bruins as Steve Rodriguez added a base hit to score Jeff Gelalich to give the Bruins a three run inning and 2-0 lead.
As he did in the third, Bauer struck out two in the fourth to keep the momentum from the offense's three run inning alive. Three outs in the fourth inning became three outs in the fifth and three outs in the fifth became three outs in the sixth too. Before anyone knew it, Bauer had struck out the side in the sixth and the right-hander had a perfect game going through six innings.
Bauer also got another run of support in the seventh when Tyler Rahmatulla led off the fram with a base hit. A sacrifice bunt moved Rahmatulla to second and a ground out moved him to third so when Regis smacked a base hit up the middle, Rahmatulla trotted home easily to give the Bruins a 4-0 edge.
The seventh inning marked the end of Bauer's perfect game bid as he walked one in the bottom half of the frame and an inning later, Bauer surrendered a hit to end the no-hit bid. Even so, the junior kept dealing and finished off the game on 120 pitches to pick up the one-hit win and improve to 4-1 on the season.
UCLA and and USC will wrap up their three-game series on Sunday with a rematch of the Dodgertown Classic pitching matchup of two weeks ago. Adam Plutko will be on the mound for UCLA and Logan Odom will get the nod for USC at Dedeaux Field in the final of the Pac-10 opening series for bother teams.