May 19, 2009
IRVINE, Calif. - The UCLA baseball team absorbed a heartbreaking 5-4 loss in 10 innings to No. 1 UC Irvine on Tuesday evening before 2,726 fans at Anteater Ballpark. The Bruins claimed a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th inning before the Anteaters (41-12) responded with one pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the frame.
In the top of the 10th, first baseman Cody Decker clubbed his team-leading 20th homer - a mammoth blast well past the 15-foot-high fence in right-center field - to hand UCLA a 4-3 cushion. Decker's round-tripper extended his career-long hitting streak to 12 games.
UC Irvine answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Right fielder Tommy Reyes laced a one-out double to right-center field off UCLA left-hander Gavin Brooks, who finished the evening having limited the Anteaters to one unearned run and three hits in 3.1 innings.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole entered for the Bruins (26-27), making his first relief appearance of the season. Cole induced a lazy groundout back to the mound for the second out, allowing Reyes to advance to third base. Designated hitter Ronnie Shaeffer was safe at first on a ground ball mishandled by Bruins' shortstop Niko Gallego, allowing Reyes to score the game-tying run. After a wild pitch, second baseman Casey Stevenson blooped a single to left-center field, allowing Shaeffer to score the game-winning run from second base.
UC Irvine right-hander Eric Pettis (5-2) earned the victory in relief, allowing one solo homer in two innings. Cole (4-7) was tagged with the loss for the Bruins, surrendering one unearned run and one hit in one-third of an inning.
UCLA secured a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Center fielder Blair Dunlap led off with a single. After advancing to second on a groundout, Dunlap scored on a two-out single to right field by designated hitter Casey Haerther.
UC Irvine tied the ballgame, 1-1, in the bottom of the second. After Shaeffer doubled down the right-field line, first baseman Jeff Cusick belted an RBI-double to left-center field.
The Bruins added two runs in the top of the third. With catcher Steve Rodriguez aboard second base, Aielli lined a one-out run-scoring single up the middle. Four batters later with the bases loaded and two outs, third baseman Tyler Rahmatulla scorched a base-hit into center field, advancing home Aielli.
The Anteaters tied the contest at 3-3 on at two-run homer to left field by center fielder Eric Deragisch in the top of the sixth inning. UCLA's bullpen, headed by Brooks, extinguished chances for UC Irvine to score in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. The Anteaters advanced the potential winning run to third base in the bottom of the ninth before Brooks struck out pinch-hitter Tony Asaro looking on a full count.
UCLA returns to action at No. 3 Arizona State for a three-game Pac-10 series beginning Friday, May 22. Game time at Packard Stadium is 6:30 p.m. The Bruins and Sun Devils continue their series Saturday at 6:30 p.m. before closing the regular season Sunday at 1 p.m.
Game Notes: Cody Decker's team-leading 20th home run also marked his 46th career round-tripper - Decker is one home run shy of tying Ryan McGuire's 47-home run total, the seventh highest career homer total in school history...Decker moved into the Pac-10 lead this season with 20 homers (above Washington's Kyle Conley, 19 home runs)...UCLA fell to 7-11 against teams ranked in Baseball America's weekly top-25 poll...the Bruins have played more games and earned more victories against top-25 ranked teams than any other Pac-10 school this season...Garett Claypool limited UC Irvine to three runs and four hits in 5.2 innings as the Bruins' starting pitcher - Claypool recorded three strikeouts and issued just one walk.