UCLA Baseball Opens Pac-10 Play With 14-4 Victory at USC

March 21, 2009

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LOS ANGELES - Freshman right-hander Gerrit Cole (2-2) surrendered just two runs and six hits in five innings, recording six strikeouts and one walk, to lead the UCLA baseball team past USC, 14-4, on Saturday afternoon in both teams' Pac-10 Conference opener at Dedeaux Field.

Fellow freshman right-hander Trevor Bauer limited the Trojans (7-9, 0-1 Pac-10) to two runs (one earned) and four hits in four innings of relief, collecting three strikeouts without issuing any walks, to notch his second save.

USC right-hander Brad Boxberger (2-2) was tagged with the loss, allowing six runs (three earned) off four hits and eight walks. Boxberger recorded five strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

Leading 6-2 through eight innings, UCLA (6-12, 1-0 Pac-10) broke through with an eight-run ninth inning keyed by third baseman Casey Haerther's two-out grand slam to secure the Pac-10 victory. The Bruins received at least two hits from four players to extend their win streak at USC's Dedeaux Field to five games.

Center fielder Blair Dunlap went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, Haerther went 2-for-6 with a game-high four RBI and first baseman Alex Weber-Shapiro was 2-for-5 with two runs and one walk.

UCLA led from the start, scoring two runs in the first inning, before USC answered with one run in the bottom of the frame. Each team added one run in the second inning, as the visiting Bruins extended their margin to 3-2.

The Bruins capitalized on four walks issued by Boxberger and a two-out fielding error by Trojans' third baseman Hector Rabago to add three runs in the sixth inning, pushing their cushion to 6-2. Second baseman Eddie Murray drew a bases-loaded walk on a full count to send home Weber-Shapiro. Haerther grounded a ball under the reach of Rabago, allowing Cohen and catcher Steve Rodriguez to score.

UCLA's eight-run ninth inning began with a line drive single by Haerther. Designated hitter Cody Decker was hit by a pitch before Weber-Shapiro singled up the middle to send home Haerther. With two outs, shortstop Niko Gallego doubled down the left-field line, plating Decker. Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, and Dunlap singled to left field to score Weber-Shapiro from third. After Murray drew a walk to load the bases, Haerther belted a 1-and-2 count delivery beyond the fence in left-center field, handing the Bruins a 14-2 cushion.

USC added two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning off two singles and one dropped outfield flyball.

The Bruins and Trojans resume their three-game series at USC on Sunday, March 22. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. The local Los Angeles area forecast calls for rain on Sunday afternoon, and fans are advised to check uclabruins.com on Sunday morning for a game time update.

Game Notes: UCLA scored a season-best 14 runs, eclipsing its previous high of 13 against UC Davis in the season-opening contest...the Bruins sent 13 batters to the plate in their eight-run ninth inning...all nine players in UCLA's starting batting lineup reached base safely via a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch...Blair Dunlap registered his team-leading ninth stolen base in the top of the fifth inning...the Bruins won their Pac-10 Conference opening-contest for the third consecutive season - all three wins coming on the road (at Stanford, 2007; at Arizona, 2008).


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