Crawford's Heroics Propel UCLA Baseball Past UNLV, 8-7, in 11 Innings
April 22, 2008
LOS ANGELES - UCLA shortstop Brandon Crawford scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning Tuesday evening, leading the Bruins past UNLV, 8-7, after having shut down the Rebels on the mound in his collegiate pitching debut. Crawford (1-0) earned the victory in relief, striking out four hitters in 2.2 scoreless innings.
With the bases empty in the bottom of the11th, Crawford initiated the Bruins' rally with a two-out double to left-center. UNLV's Thomas Whitsett (2-2) intentionally walked first baseman Casey Haerther, who finished the evening 2-for-4 with one run and two walks. Pinch-hitter Mickey Weisser stepped to the plate and lined an 0-and-2 count pitch into center field, allowing Crawford to score from second base and igniting a jubilant celebration at home plate.
UCLA (20-16) led by a 5-0 margin after six innings, as right-hander Garett Claypool shut down the Rebels. Claypool limited UNLV to three hits in a career-high six scoreless innings and exited the ballgame with a 5-0 lead.
UNLV (18-21) clawed its way back into the contest, scoring on a solo homer by first baseman Xavier Scruggs in the seventh inning before adding three runs in each of the eighth and ninth innings.
The Rebels' lineup chased four UCLA relief pitchers before Crawford stepped to the mound in the top of the ninth inning to make his collegiate debut with runners at second and third and just one out. Crawford fanned Scruggs on a full-count before surrendering the game-tying single to third baseman Braden Walker. With two outs, UNLV's Michael Brenly lined a ball off Crawford's right foot and the ball deflected to Bruin third baseman Jermaine Curtis, who threw across the diamond for the final out of the inning.
Neither team pushed a run across the plate in the 10th inning. In the top of the 11th, Scruggs reached third base on a throwing error by Curtis, allowing the Rebels' first baseman to advance to third. Crawford induced Walker to fly out to right field, ending the Rebels' final threat.
Scruggs, who belted his team-leading 15th home run earlier in the evening, finished the ballgame going 3-for-6 with two runs and a game-high three RBI.
Bruin second baseman Alden Carrithers recorded his fifth four-hit effort of the season - the seventh of his career - to lead UCLA at the plate. Carrithers went 4-for-6 with two runs, and right fielder Gabe Cohen went 2-for-5 with his team-leading seventh home run of the season.
UCLA scored its first run in the bottom of the first. Carrithers led off the frame with a double off the center field wall and scored on a two-out single to center by designated hitter Cody Decker.
The Bruins added two more runs in the second to claim a 3-0 lead. Left fielder Brady Dolan led off the inning with a walk, stole second and moved to third base on a fielder's choice by Carrithers. After third baseman Jermaine Curtis drew a walk to load the bases, Crawford lined a single into left field, scoring both Dolan and Carrithers.
UCLA built on its lead in the bottom of the third, as Cohen belted a two-out, two-run homer to left field. After Scruggs' solo home run in the seventh, the Bruins added their sixth run of the evening in the seventh inning.
UNLV's late rally included three singles and two walks in the eighth inning and two doubles and three singles in the ninth.
The Bruins return to action at Washington, playing a three-game Pac-10 series beginning Friday, April 25. Game time at Husky Ballpark is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Game Notes: UCLA improved to 3-2 this season in extra-inning games...Alden Carrithers leads the Bruins with 18 multi-hit games this season...Casey Haerther extended his season-long nine game hit streak...UCLA has won each of its last seven games against UNLV (and 12 of the last 13 meetings)...UCLA used a season-high six pitchers in the extra-inning win; UNLV used seven pitchers.