Berry's Ninth Inning Home Run Not Enough As Bruins Fall to Matadors
March 8, 2002
NORTHRIDGE - Adam Berry's three-run ninth inning home run was not enough as the UCLA Baseball team fell to Cal State Northridge 10-9 this afternoon at Matador Field. It was the senior outfielder's ninth home run of the season, and his sixth in his last six games. The Bruins fall to 11-11, while the Matadors improve to 15-6.
The Matadors scored first in the bottom of the first. Jason Allec singled, stole second, and scored on Tim Arroyo's RBI double.
UCLA took the lead the third inning, scoring three runs. After Ryan McCarthy walked, Ryan Rasmussen reached on an error by Matador shortstop Mel Robinson, Jr. Matt Thayer replaced Rasmussen on a fielder's choice, and Ben Francisco's RBI single allowed McCarthy to scored. Adam Berry's RBI single scored Thayer, and Francisco scored the third run after a balk by Matador pitcher Bill Murphy.
CSUN put another run on the board in the bottom of the third, but the Bruins responded with a run in the fourth. Billy Susdorf reached base on an error by Matador third baseman Jason Gorman. After stealing second, he advanced to third on Rasmussen's single. With runners at first and third, the Bruins pulled off a double steal, with Susdorf stealing home to give the Bruins a 4-2 lead.
The Matadors tied the score in the bottom of the inning, as the top of the lineup again provided all of the offense. But the Bruins would not give up. In the top of the fifth, they took the lead again. Thayer walked and stole second. He advanced to third, and then home, on two wild pitches by Murphy. UCLA was able to add to its lead in the top of the seventh, as Francisco hit a solo home run to give the Bruins a 6-4 lead.
But the powerful Matador bats struck in the bottom of the seventh. Brandon Averill moved from third base to the pitching mound in the sixth, and was able to keep the Matadors scoreless in the sixth. But the seventh was more difficult. He walked the first batter, Arroyo, and hit Aaron McKenzie. After striking out Eric Verbryke, he walked Tim Dorn to load the bases. After striking out Gorman, pinch hitter Ryan Haag hit a ground rule double over the center field wall. The next batter, Adam Nikolic, cleared the bases with a three run home run to give the Matadors a 9-6 lead. Mike Kunes relieved Averill and got Shaun Larkin to strike out.
Arroyo's solo home run to start the eighth extended the Matador lead by one run, and proved to be the game winner. In the top of the ninth, Francisco singled off the third base bag to start the inning. Casey Grzecka followed with another single, and Berry hit reliever Phil Polanco's first pitch over the wall in right centerfield. However, it was not enough, as the next two batters grounded out to end the game. Berry's home run was the first run allowed by Polanco in more than 12 innings of work this season.
Wes Whisler was strong in his third start of the season. The freshman allowed just four runs in 5.0 innings. He struck out a career-high eight batters and walked four. Averill suffered the loss, allowing five runs on four hits, walking two and striking out four in 1.2 innings. Kunes allowed one run, a solo home run, on two hits in 0.2 innings.
Berry finished the game 3-for-5 with four RBI and one run. Francisco also had a solid day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI. Grzecka was 2-for-5.
The Bruins will face the Matadors in game two of the series on Saturday at Matador Field. Game time is 1:00 p.m. Sunday's game will be at Jackie Robinson Stadium at 1:00 p.m.