No. 9 UCLA Baseball Falls to No. 10 Rice, 5-4, in 10 Innings

Feb. 27, 2009

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HOUSTON - Sophomore left-hander Rob Rasmussen allowed three runs and six hits, totaling four strikeouts in six innings, to lead the No. 9 UCLA baseball team in a 5-4, 10-inning loss to No. 10 Rice in the Bruins' opening game of the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.

Rice (3-2) broke a 4-4 deadlock in the bottom of the 10th inning when catcher Diego Seastrunk scored with two outs in the inning off a slow chopper hit behind the pitcher's mound by left fielder Jeremy Rathjen. With runners at first and second base stealing on a 1-and-2 count, Seastrunk advanced home after rounding third on an error by Bruin second baseman Eddie Murray.

Jordan Rogers (2-0) recorded the victory for the Owls, recording five strikeouts in two hitless innings of relief. UCLA's Trevor Bauer (0-2) absorbed the loss, surrendering two runs (one earned) and three hits in 2.2 frames. Bauer logged three strikeouts and issued four walks (two intentional).

Mike Ojala, the starting pitcher for Rice, recorded 11 strikeouts and issued one walk in 6.2 innings. The Owls' right-hander limited UCLA to three runs (two earned) and 12 hits in his second appearance of the young season.

In a competitive contest played before an announced crowd of 6,879 fans at the home of MLB's Houston Astros, UCLA overcame an early 3-1 deficit by taking a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth. Rice answered with one run in the bottom of the eighth, and both teams held each other scoreless in the ninth.

The Bruins were led at the plate by Murray, who went 3-for-4 with one double and both of UCLA's two RBI. First baseman Casey Haerther and catcher Steve Rodriguez each went 3-for-5.

UCLA scored the game's first run in the top of the first. Right fielder Chris Giovinazzo belted a double to the gap in left-center field and advanced home on an infield single by Haerther followed by a throwing error by pitcher Mike Ojala.

Rice answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. The Owls tied the contest, 1-1, on an RBI-double past a diving Tyler Rahmatulla and down the left-field line by Seastrunk, scoring leadoff hitter and second baseman Brock Holt. Rice plated its second run with a single through the right side by shortstop Rick Hague and added its third run on an RBI-double to right field by center fielder Steven Sultzbaugh.

The Bruins sliced Rice's margin in half with one run in the second. With two outs, Murray grounded a base-hit up the middle to send home center fielder Blair Dunlap from second. UCLA tied the game, 3-3, in the fourth. Murray belted a double to deep right field, advanced to third on a fielder's choice and scored on a wild pitch.

UCLA assumed its second lead of the game, a 4-3 cushion, with one run in the eighth. After reaching safely on a fielder's choice and stealing second base, Rahmatulla scored on a base-hit up the middle by Murray.

Rice tied the ballgame, 4-4, with an RBI-double to deep center field by third baseman Anthony Rendon. The two-bagger sent home Seastrunk, who reached first base with a one-out single to right field.

UCLA faces No. 6 Baylor on Saturday at Houston's Minute Maid Park. First pitch is slated for 1:30 p.m. (PT). An audio broadcast of Saturday's game will be available live at uclabruins.com, as UCLA's Tim Wilhelm will have the call. Fans can also watch the game (subscription required) through MLB.com.

Game Notes: Junior Casey Haerther extended his career-long hitting streak to 17 games with a single in the first inning...left-hander Rob Rasmussen logged a career-high six innings on the mound...senior Eddie Murray and freshman Steve Rodriguez each established new career-highs with their respective three-hit efforts...sophomore Chris Giovinazzo was the only other Bruin to record a multiple-hit effort, going 2-for-5 with one run...left-hander Matt Grace needed just 12 pitches to record a scoreless seventh inning for UCLA.


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