No. 23 UCLA Baseball Defeats Southern, 16-2, in Season Opener

Feb. 19, 2010

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LOS ANGELES - Right-hander Gerrit Cole allowed two runs and one hit in 6.0 innings to lead the No. 23 UCLA baseball team past Southern, 16-2, in the season opener for both teams in an MLB Urban Invitational contest on Friday evening at UCLA's Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Cole (1-0) recorded nine strikeouts and no walks as the Bruins' starter.

UCLA (1-0) received at least one hit from each of its nine starters in the lineup. Designated hitter Blair Dunlap led the way with a 3-for-4 effort, including one homer, two RBI and two runs. Dunlap led off the bottom of the first by connecting on the first pitch from Southern left-hander Chase Richard for a solo homer to left.

Right fielder Brett Krill finished 3-for-5 with one run, and shortstop Niko Gallego went 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBI. Catcher Steve Rodriguez belted one three-run homer in a 1-for-3 effort, collecting a career-high four RBI and two runs.

Richard (0-1) absorbed the loss for Southern, surrendering 13 runs (seven earned) and 12 hits in 4.0 innings.

UCLA led 9-0 after the first inning by taking advantage of seven hits and one fielding error. Dunlap's solo blast in the first inning put the Bruins on the board. With one out and the bases loaded, Espy reached on a sacrifice fly to center that was dropped, sending home Rahmatulla.

After an RBI-single by freshman Cody Keefer and a two-out bases-loaded hit-by-pitch from Rodriguez, Dunlap reached on an RBI-bunt single and Gallego blooped a three-run double to center field. Rahmatulla's second hit of the inning scored Gallego for the Bruins' ninth run.

Espy's solo homer in the bottom of the second extended UCLA's cushion to 10-0.

Southern scored two runs in the top of the third. With one out, left fielder James Armstrong lined a run-scoring triple down the right-field line, scoring right fielder Michael Lindsey. A sacrifice fly to center by first baseman Frazier Hall plated Armstrong from third.

Rodriguez followed with a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, pushing the Bruins' margin to 13-2.

UCLA added its final three runs in the bottom of the seventh, opening a 16-2 lead. Gallego belted his first career homer as the inning's leadoff hitter.

The Bruins return to action against Bethune Cookman on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. Game time is 6 p.m. Saturday's contest will be televised nationally on MLB Network.

Game Notes: UCLA improved to 5-1 in season opening ballgames under head coach John Savage...UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium opened its 30th season as the home as the Bruins' baseball program on Friday night...several Bruins made their collegiate debuts on Friday, including sophomore Brandon Lodge and freshmen Beau Amaral, Jeff Gelalich, Trevor Brown, Cody Regis and Tyler Heineman...sophomore transfer Dean Espy started at third base in his first game playing for UCLA...left-hander Matt Grace and right-handers Garett Claypool and Brandon Lodge threw scoreless innings through the back three frames, respectively.

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