April 17, 2003
TEMPE, ARIZONA - Back to back doubles in the ninth inning would prove to be the deciding factor, giving UCLA (18-23) a 9-8 victory over fourth-ranked Arizona State (38-8) in front of 2,227 fans at Packard Stadium on Thursday night.
Consecutive doubles from Brandon Averill and Chris Jensen started the ninth inning for UCLA. Jensen's double sent Averill home, breaking a 7-7 tie. A sacrifice bunt from Preston Griffin moved Jensen to third, before he scored what proved to be the game winner on a wild pitch.
The Bruins did not allow a shaky defensive first inning slow them down as two errors, two singles and a double from Dustin Pedroia drove in four Sun Devil runs. UCLA rallied in the top of the second when a lead-off double from Billy Susdorf started the rally. After consecutive outs, a single from Ryan McCarthy would drive Susdorf in. Brandon Averill was hit by a pitch from Arizona State starter Erik Averill, his younger brother to give UCLA runners at first and second. A two-out, two-RBI triple from Christian Lewis would bring the Sun Devil lead down to one run after two innings of action.
UCLA would take a 5-4 lead in the top of the third when Wes Whisler hit a towering home run over the right field fence which scored Matt Thayer, who had been hit by Averill earlier in the inning. However, the Sun Devils would post two in the bottom of the frame as Tuffy Gosewisch hit his own two-run homer to give ASU a 6-5 advantage.
The Sun Devils added another run to their tally in the bottom of the fifth when Andre Ethier scored on a wild pitch from Bruin starter Mike Kunes. The crafty left-hander would strike-out six Sun Devils before exiting the game in the sixth.
McCarthy would even the score in the top of the sixth inning with his sixth homer of the season. He also drove in Brett McMillan who had doubled earlier in the inning. After six innings of action, the score was tied at 7-7.
Sun Devil reliever Beau Vaughan would stifle the Bruin attack in the late innings, as he struck out ten Bruins, including three in the seventh, after entering the game in third inning
Bruin reliever Bryan Beck countered Vaughan in four innings, allowing only one run on three hits.
In the bottom of the eighth, Arizona State threatened to take a lead as Beck hit consecutive batters with only one out. However, a double play would catch runners at second and third to get UCLA out of the jam.
UCLA and Arizona State will meet again tomorrow night in a 7:00 p.m. contest at Packard Stadium. Left-hander Wes Whisler (3-5) will get the start for the Bruins on the mound.