March 22, 2003
The UCLA baseball team (13-14) returned to its winning ways on Saturday afternoon with a 9-7 victory over #29 Wichita State (14-7) at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
After the Shockers posted a run in the top of the first, the Bruins exploded with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Preston Griffin led off the inning with a double and freshman Brett McMillan brought him home with his first career home run. Singles from Wes Whisler and Matt Thayer put two runners on before Brandon Averill cleared the bases with a triple to right field. After one inning, UCLA led 4-1.
The Shockers would add a run to their total in the top of the third when Drew Moffit hit his sixth homer of the season. However, the Bruins would rally again in the bottom of the inning when a Griffin single would drive in Kevin Conlin and Averill.
UCLA's 6-1 lead would be short lived as Wichita State posted four runs in the top of the fourth to even the game. After a ground out and strike out, Nick McCoola kept the inning alive, reaching base on a passed ball. He would later score on another. A single and a walk kept the rally going before Brandon Green tied the game with a three-run homer.
Starter Mike Kunes would not return after the fourth inning, but still managed to post a new career-high of nine strikeouts. He only allowed two earned runs on eight hits.
UCLA would regain the lead once again in the bottom of the fourth when Whisler and Chris Denove started the inning with back-to-back singles. Thayer moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt before Whisler scored on a balk from Tommy Hottovy.
A solo home run from Nick McCoola in the top of the sixth would be the final Wichita State run and the only run reliever Adam Simon would allow. The freshman right-hander picked up his first collegiate win, allowing one run on three hits in three innings of action.
UCLA sealed the victory in the bottom of the sixth when Denove hit a solo home run, his fourth of the season. The Bruins added an insurance run when a Conlin double brought in Thayer.
Bruin reliever David Johnson shut down the Shockers in the eighth and ninth innings, allowing only one hit to earn his first save of 2003.
The Bruins will return to action tomorrow, when right-hander Chris Cordeiro gets the start against the Shockers. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.