Whisler's Two Home Runs Lead Bruins Past Cougars, 5-3
April 26, 2002
LOS ANGELES - Wes Whisler hit two home runs to lead UCLA to a 5-3 win over Washington State at Jackie Robinson Stadium this evening. The freshman hit a two-run homer over the screen in center field to tie the game in the fourth inning, and another solo home run to right center field to tie the game in the sixth inning. UCLA improves to 19-24 on the year, 5-5 in Pac-10 play. Washington State falls to 15-24, 2-11 in the conference.
The Cougars got on the board quickly in the first. With two outs, Brandon Averill dropped a soft liner hit by Jeff LaRue, and Wes Falkenborg made him pay by hitting a two-run home run to left field.
The Bruins did not manage a hit until the fourth inning. After going down 1-2-3 in the first three innings, Chris Jensen got the Bruins' first hit in the fourth. He hit a single to right field, and Cougar rightfielder Collin Henderson mishandled the ball, allowing Jensen to get to second. With two outs, Whisler crushed a ball over the screen in straight away center field, high above the 390 sign, to tie the game at 2-2.
UCLA starter Mike Kunes (6-3) pitched well in his first Pac-10 start of the season. After allowing the two unearned runs in the first inning, he didn't allow a run until the sixth inning. LaRue started the inning with a single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. He came around to score on Robert Stahlke's RBI single to center field and give WSU a 3-2 lead.
The lead didn't last long. In the bottom of the sixth, Whisler hit his second home run of the game, and his sixth of the season. Adam Berry followed by hitting a grounder to second baseman Stahkle. Stahkle's throw pulled the first baseman off the bag, allowing Berry to stay at first base. After advancing to second on a groundout, Berry advanced to third when third baseman LaRue couldn't handle Matt Thayer's ground ball. With runners at first and third, McCarthy hit an infield single that scored Berry to give the Bruins a 4-3 lead.
UCLA added an insurance run in the seventh. Ryan Rasmussen led off the inning with a single that dropped in front of the right fielder and advanced to second on Nick Lyon's sacrifice bunt. Rasmussen scored on Josh Arhart's RBI double to the gap in left center.
Doug Silva came into the game with two outs in the seventh inning and allowed just one hit and no runs in the final 2.1 innings of the game to pick up his second save of the season. He finished off the game strongly, striking out the last two batters he faced.
Washington State's Evan Hecker was ejected from the game in the top of the third inning. After leading off the inning with a double, Hecker attempted to score on Justin Hart's single to center field. Rashad Parker's throw from the outfield was right on target, but Hecker charged catcher Arhart in an attempt to score.
Kunes allowed just one earned run in 6.1 innings on seven hits. He struck out four and did not allow a walk. Cougar starter Eddie Bonine (6-6) suffered the loss, allowing four earned runs on seven hits. He did not strike out any batters and walked four.
The Bruins and Cougars return to action on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Whisler will move from first base to the pitching mound, looking to continue his hot pitching.