Whisler Ties UCLA Freshman Home Run Record In Grand Style
May 18, 2002
LOS ANGELES - Wes Whisler tied the freshman home run record with a grand slam in the eighth inning to lead UCLA to a 9-4 win over No. 7 Stanford at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The grand slam was Whisler's second home run of the day, and it ties the record of 15 freshman home runs set by Chase Utley in 1998. Whisler also pitched for UCLA, allowing just one earned run in 6.0 innings and striking out a career-high eight batters, but did not factor into the decision. UCLA improves to 26-29, 9-11 in Pac-10 play, while Stanford drops to 36-16, 12-8 in conference.
Stanford scored its only earned run of the day in the second inning. After Whisler struck out the first two batters, Jason Cooper hit a double off the wall in right field, and came around to score on Andy Topham's single.
Whisler tied the game in the second with a towering home run to right field. The Bruins would take the lead in the third inning. Adam Berry led off the inning with a single, and was replaced on the bases with Ryan McCarthy's fielders choice. After Ryan Rasmussen and Rashad Parker were hit with pitches to load the bases, McCarthy came round to score on Grzecka's high chopping infield single.
The game would stay a 2-1 UCLA lead until the top of the sixth. Whisler struck out Scott Dragicevich, but the third strike got away from catcher Grzecka and Dragicevich was safe at first. Brian Hall hit a ground ball to McCarthy that the shortstop couldn't handle to put runners at first and second. After Cooper was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Topham hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Dragicevich. Cooper was thrown out at second as he tagged up and tried to advance on the fly ball. With two outs and a runner at third, Arik VanZandt hit a ground ball to third baseman Brandon Averill, who let the ball go through his legs, allowing the second run of the inning to score. Averill committed a throwing error to allow Chris O'Riordan to reach first, and the third run of the inning came around to score on Sam Fuld's single, the first hit of the inning. For the inning, Stanford scored three runs with just one hit, three UCLA errors, and a passed ball strikeout.
Whisler tied a career-high with eight strikeouts, while allowing just one earned run in 6.0 innings. He walked one and allowed seven hits.
Averill worked at making up for his fielding errors by hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth. It was his sixth home run of the season, and closed the Stanford lead to just one, 4-3.
UCLA took the lead for good in the seventh inning. Rasmussen led off the inning with a single to left center, and Parker laid down a bunt single to put runners at first and second. Grzecka's sacrifice bunt moved the runners over, and Stanford intentionally walked Whisler to load the bases and set the stage for freshman Billy Susdorf. The left fielder laced a single into left field, scoring Rasmussen and Parker and giving the Bruins a 5-4 lead.
Whisler's grand slam in the eighth added padding to the UCLA lead. McCarthy hit a double to the gap in left center and Rasmussen walked to put runners at first and second. Grzecka hit another infield single to load the bases and set the stage for Whisler's grand slam. On a 1-2 count, Whisler hit the record tying home run to left center field to give the Bruins a 9-4 advantage.
The Bruin relief duo of Chris Cordeiro and Doug Silva shutout the Cardinal in the final three innings to preserve the UCLA win. Neither allowed a hit in relief. Cordeiro (2-6) was credited with the win after pitching a shutout seventh inning. Stanford reliever Dan Rich (1-2) suffered the loss after giving up the go-ahead runs in the seventh inning.
UCLA looks to win the series on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Silva makes a quick turnaround and will be the Sunday starter. Stanford will start Tim Cunningham.