Two-Run Eighth Lifts No. 3 UCLA Past USC, 4-3, in Urban Invitational
March 2, 2008
LOS ANGELES - Second baseman Alden Carrithers' two-run double to center field handed UCLA a 4-3 lead with two outs in the eighth inning, and the third-ranked Bruins (5-1) held on to defeat crosstown rival USC at Dedeaux Field on Sunday afternoon in both teams' final game of the inaugural Urban Invitational.
The non-conference victory marked UCLA's sixth consecutive win over USC and fourth straight win against USC at Dedeaux Field.
Carrithers, who finished 2-for-5 with two RBI, netted the game-winning hit after catcher Brent Dean reached base after getting hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and third baseman Jermaine Curtis lined a 1-and-2 count pitch to right field for a base hit. Carrithers deposited the first pitch he saw from Trojan right-hander Hector Rabago (0-1) over the head of center fielder Nick Buss, allowing Dean and Curtis to score the game's final two runs.
Bruin left-hander Brendan Lafferty (1-0) earned his first victory of the season, shutting down the Trojans (5-3) by scattering just two hits in five scoreless innings of relief. The redshirt junior from Riverside, Calif., recorded one strikeout and issued just one walk.
Curtis finished the afternoon 3-for-4, with two runs, one double and two singles. Crawford hit 2-for-5 with his first home run of the season.
UCLA, which capped a perfect 3-0 weekend in the Urban Invitational, trailed 3-0 after four innings. The Bruins' rally began with one run in the fifth, another run in the seventh, followed by clutch two-out hitting in the eighth.
The Bruins got on the board in the fifth inning when center fielder Justin Uribe grounded into a fielder's choice, sending home Curtis from third base. Crawford led off the top of the seventh inning with a solo home run to right field, cutting USC's lead to 3-2.
USC took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Right fielder Anthony Vasquez led off the frame with a base-hit up the middle and later scored on a sacrifice fly to right by left fielder Roberto Lopez. Two batters later, catcher Robert Stock drew a bases-loaded walk, allowing second baseman Joe De Pinto to score.
The Trojans added to their cushion, scoring once in the fourth inning to assume a 3-0 lead. With runners at the corners, De Pinto lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, sending home Vasquez, who finished the afternoon 2-for-4 with two runs.
UCLA left-hander Matt Drummond allowed three runs and six hits in four innings, recording two strikeouts and issuing two walks in his first start of the season. USC right-hander Brad Boxberger limited the Bruins to one run and five hits through five innings, totaling six strikeouts and four walks in his second start of the spring.
UCLA returns to action for a two-game swing against Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Bruins play at Fullerton's Goodwin Field on Tuesday host the Titans at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Wednesday. Both games are set to begin at 6 p.m. The mid-week contests are a rematch of last June's NCAA Super Regional, where Cal State Fullerton won both games in the best-of-three series at Goodwin Field.
Game Notes: UCLA has now won each of its last six games against USC...this afternoon's game was a non-conference, regular-season contest between the crosstown rivals...the Bruins and Trojans play a three-game Pac-10 series at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium on April 4-6...UCLA last opened its season with five wins in six games in 2000, when the Bruins rolled to a 6-1 start...the Bruins finished 3-0 in the inaugural Urban Invitational, winning against Southern (11-2) and Bethune-Cookman (2-0) in games on Friday and Saturday evening, respectively.