The UCLA Bruin Baseball team ground out a win last night at Dodger Stadium, finally prevailing in 14 innings over Southern Cal, 5-3. The win capped a perfect weekend for the Bruins.
UCLA loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the 14th. Christoph Bono, who had not looked good at the plate all night and was 0-5 at that point, stepped to the plate. "Bones" chopped a slow bouncer that squeaked under the glove of Southern Cal shortstop, Reggie Southall, dribbling into shallow left-center field, and breaking the 3-3 tie as Brett Stephens and Eric Filia scored. Bono recorded a hit and an RBI on the play, and Southall was also given an error, making the second run unearned.
Scott Burke, who had only allowed a walk and no hits in his two previous innings, came on to pitch the bottom of the 14th. Burke promptly surrendered back-to-back singles to Southall and Lars Nootbaar (maybe the best name in college athletics, Trogan or not). Corey Dempster bunted the runners over, and Southern Cal had the tying runs in scoring position with one out. Burke, however, was up to the task, inducing a foul out from Southern Cal catcher Jeremy Martinez, followed by a game-ending, "major league" pop up by slugger Timmy Robinson (2 HR, 9 RBI), who went 0-7 against the Bruins. Luke Persico gloved the ball to end the game. Robinson did not hide his displeasure with his performance, pounding the plate with his bat immediately after contact on the game-ending pop out.
Before 14th inning, the teams had combined for nine scoreless innings, after UCLA managed to plate two runs in a two out rally to tie the game, 3-3, in the top of the 4th inning. Trent Chatterton walked, Brett Urabe singled, and Brett Stephens tripled over the right fielder's head scoring Chatty and Urabe.
UCLA raised its record to 6-5 on the season, while Southern Cal fell to 6-5. The teams will meet against in a three game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium May 13-15.
UCLA Head Coach John Savage reached a significant milestone, recording his 400th win as UCLA's skipper. Coach Savage accomplished this feat in eleven plus seasons at UCLA, an amazing achievement. Say what you will about our AD (and there is a lot to say); he was spot on with this hire. Huge congratulations go out to Coach Savage!
It was great to finally watch the Bruins, as UCLA was televised for the time this season. I love listening to John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm, but it was nice to actually see some of the new faces and their performances.
Speaking of performances, the UCLA bullpen was outstanding, with huge props to Brian Gadsby (four scoreless innings pitched) and Burke (three scoreless innings pitched). Freshman, Kyle Molnar, although surrendering three runs in five innings, looks to have really good stuff. Nathan Hadley also pitched well. Again, good to see these kids play; I have a better understanding why Coach Savage sees so much potential in some of the freshman pitchers.
This was a very nice weekend for UCLA baseball. Wins over Mississippi State, Oklahoma, and Southern Cal are all solid.
UCLA's midweek opponent on Tuesday is Cal State Northridge, before the Bruins host the Texas Longhorns this weekend.
Have a great week and GO BRUINS!