June 2, 2006
Malibu, Calif - UCLA junior RHP Hector Ambriz tossed a complete game, and freshmen Ryan Babineau and Brandon Crawford provided key hits to lead the Bruins to a 3-2 win over UC Irvine in the first round of the Malibu Regional on Friday afternoon at Eddy D. Field Stadium. UCLA improves to 33-23 and will play No. 1-seed Pepperdine on Satruday, June 3 at 3 p.m.
Ambriz (8-7) earned his second complete-game win of the year, allowing two run (both unearned) on just four hits, with five strikeouts and four walks. Ambriz finished the game strong, retiring the final 13-of-14 Anteaters he faced to close out a tough win for UCLA.
Senior Chris Jensen led the way at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a RBI, Babineau hit a game-tying solo home run, and Crawford finished 2-for-3 with the game-winning RBI double in the seventh. Freshman Blair Dunlap went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Ambriz also had two singles in the game.
UCLA took a 1-0 lead over UC Irvine in the bottom of the first inning. Crawford led off with a walk on four pitches and freshman Jermaine Curtis followed with a single to left center to advance Crawford to third base. Jensen then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Crawford for the first run of the game.
Ambriz cruised through the first four innings of the game, giving up just two hits while holding the Anteaters scoreless before running into some trouble in the top of the fifth.
With two outs in the fifth, UC Irvine rallied for two runs to take a 2-1 lead over the Bruins. UCI's Aaron Lowenstein singled to right, Danny McCarthy double to right center, and Taylor Holiday walked to load the bases. Ben Orloff then hit a ground ball that got past Curtis at third base to score Lowenstein and McCarthy, and give UCI a one-run lead. Cody Cipriano walked to reload the bases, but Ambriz got Jamie Martinez to ground out to senior Sean Smith at second base to end the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Babineau tied the game up at 2-2 with a solo home run to left field on the first pitch he saw in the at bat.
UCLA regained the lead at 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Dunlap singled to lead off the inning, and then stole second. With two outs, Crawford hit a clutch RBI double to right center to score Dunlap and give UCLA a one-run lead.
Ambriz breezed past UC Irvine in the final two innings, retiring the last six-consecutive batters he faced to end the game.
UCLA will play Pepperdine at 3 p.m. in the second round of the Malibu Regional on Saturday, June 3.