March 12, 2003
After being held to five hitless innings, UCLA (12-14) could not rally from defeat, falling 10-6 to UC Riverside (17-3). Second baseman Preston Griffin set a new career-high with six RBI, driving in every Bruin run of the game.
The Highlanders scored eight runs in the first two innings to build a lead the Bruins could not overcome. Two first inning doubles, a single and a sacrifice fly from Kevin Mangels brought two runs across the plate in the first frame. However, the Highlanders were far from finished.
Six runs would score for UC Riverside in the second, as three errors by the Bruins aided the Highlander rally. A two-base error would allow Brian Steinmeyer to advance to third, after reaching base on a fielder's choice. A RBI-single from Brian Wahlbrink would drive him in. Wahlbrink was caught attempting to steal second to put UCLA an out away from ending the inning. A walk and error would follow, giving the Highlanders another runner in scoring position. A double, three singles, an error and a walk would bring five more runs across the plate. After two innings, the Highlanders led 8-0.
A solo home run from Tony Festa added another run to the UCR tally in the top of the fourth. Festa would finish the day, five-for five with three doubles and a single to add to his homer.
After holding UCLA hitless through five innings, UCR starter Julio Fernandez allowed the first hit in the sixth when Matt Thayer singled after a lead-off walk to Ryan McCarthy. Brandon Averill followed with a walk to give the Bruins bases loaded with no outs. Griffin drove in McCarthy on a sacrifice fly to post the Bruins' first run of the contest. Consecutive strikeouts followed and after six, UCLA trailed 8-1.
UCLA added another run in the eighth after Thayer led off with a single and Averill reached base after being hit by a pitch. Griffin drove in his second run of the day with a single. Back-to-back outs would once again end the rally for UCLA.
Reliever Chris Cordeiro quieted the Highlanders, striking out seven in five innings. However, another solo home run came of the bat of Highlander Jason Collette in the top of the ninth to increase the UCR advantage to eight.
However, the Bruin bats had magic left in them as Griffin hit a two-out grand slam to bring UCLA within four runs. The magic would run out as the inning ended with the next batter.
After a break for finals, the Bruins will be back in action Saturday, March 22, when they host nationally ranked Wichita State. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.