Bruins Drop Heartbreaker to Miami, 8-7
March 23, 2002
CORAL GABLES, FL - The UCLA Baseball team had a 7-1 lead after the top of the fifth, but Miami scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to take game one of the series, 8-7. Ben Francisco was 2-for-5 with a bases clearing triple, and Chris Jensen was 2-for-5 with his first career home run. The Bruins fall to 13-14, while Miami improves to 13-12.
The Hurricanes got on the board in the second inning. Matt Dryer singled to start the inning and scored on a wild pitch.
The Bruins had a big third inning. Matt Thayer walked to start the inning, and advanced on a throwing error by Hurricane starter Troy Roberson. After Roberson hit Preston Griffin with a pitch, Ryan Rasmussen took first base on a fielder's choice and Thayer was out at third. Chris Jensen hit a flare to center field and loaded the bases for Ben Francisco. The speedy rightfielder hit a ball deep to the corner of right field, clearing the bases for a three RBI triple. After Casey Janssen's ground out scored Francisco, Casey Grzecka hit his first home run of the year to left field to give the Bruins a 5-1.
Jensen provided the rest of the Bruin scoring. After Rasmussen led off the fifth with a single, the left fielder hit his first career home run over the right field wall.
UCLA starter Wes Whisler was strong through five innings, but couldn't get out of the sixth. In the first five innings, Miami only had four hits and two runs off of the freshman lefty, but Whisler struggled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. After getting Danny Matienzo to strike out, and Dryer to fly out, Kevin Howard hit a single to start the Hurricane rally. Four runs later, Mike Kunes took the mound for UCLA and struck out Brad Safchik to preserve the Bruins lead, 7-6.
The Hurricane relievers shut down the Bruin offense. In the final four innings, the Bruins managed just one hit, but had their best opportunity in the eighth. With two outs, Whisler walked and his pinch runner, Nick Lyon, advanced to third on a single by Brandon Averill. Averill moved to second and the bases were loaded after Ryan Dixon hit Matt Thayer with a pitch. But pinch hitter Josh Arhart, in his first at-bat since February 26, flied out to end the inning.
Miami entered the bottom of the ninth down by one run, but tied it up after Javy Rodriguez doubled to start the inning and then scored on Safchik's single off of Bruin closer Billy Susdorf (0-1). After Susdorf intentionally walked Howard, the Hurricanes took advantage of some questionable home plate officiating. Matt Barkett walked to load the bases, and Jim Burt walked to send the winning run home.
George Huguet (3-1) earned the win after not allowing a hit or a run in the top of the ninth.
Whisler allowed four earned runs and struck out four in 5.2 innings of work. Kunes allowed just two hits and struck out four in 2.1 innings of relief, and Susdorf allowed two hits and three walks in 0.2 innings in the loss. It was Susdorf's first blown save opportunity of the season, and the first time this season he has allowed more than one run.
The Bruins look to even the series in game two on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Chris Cordeiro will be on the mound for UCLA.