No. 15 UCLA Baseball Improves to 13-0 With 5-2 Win Over No. 25 Oklahoma
March 14, 2010
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Left-hander Rob Rasmussen (1-0) fanned seven batters, allowing just one run and four hits through six innings, to earn his first victory of the season and lead the No. 15 UCLA baseball team past No. 25 Oklahoma, 5-2, in both teams' final game at the Whataburger College Classic on Sunday afternoon.
UCLA swept the three-game weekend set against Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Mississippi State and Oklahoma to improve to 13-0 overall, the Bruins' best start to any season in the modern era (dating to 1955). The team's 13-game winning streak is UCLA's longest since winning 13 straight in 1969.
Rasmussen pitched effectively through six innings in his fourth start of the season, his second career start against the Sooners (15-2). Right-hander Dan Klein threw two shutout innings, allowing one hit and one walk, to secure his third save. Klein induced a ground ball double play and fly out in the eighth inning before recording three outs in the ninth.
Oklahoma left-hander Ryan Gibson (2-1) was charged with the loss, allowing three runs and six hits in 3.2 innings. Gibson was chased with two outs in the top of the fourth after allowing three runs and four base-hits in that frame.
UCLA's offensive highlight came in the team's two-run ninth inning, as shortstop Niko Gallego executed a straight steal of home from third base for the Bruins' fifth run of the game. Gallego went 1-for-4 with one run and one walk.
Second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla led UCLA by going 2-for-5 with one RBI and one run. The Bruins received at least one hit from each of eight players. Each player in the lineup either reached base via a hit or scored a run.
Oklahoma claimed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Second baseman Jack Mayfield scored from second base on a single to center field by left fielder Casey Johnson.
The Bruins answered with a three-run fourth inning to assume a 3-1 cushion. With runners at first and second, third baseman Dean Espy lined a base-hit to right field, scoring Rahmatulla and pushing left fielder Cody Keefer to third base. A bunt single to the pitcher scored Keefer and sent Espy to second base. After tagging up to third on a flyout to right field, Espy scored on a two-out single grounded into left field by catcher Steve Rodriguez.
Oklahoma cut the Bruins' lead to 3-2 on a two-out solo homer from center fielder Chris Ellison in the seventh inning.
UCLA added two runs in the top of the ninth, pushing its margin to 5-2. After reaching on an error, center fielder Chris Giovinazzo stole second and third base. With two outs, Gallego drew a walk, and both runners advanced 90 feet on an infield single by Rahmatulla, scoring Giovinazzo. After a double steal, putting Gallego at third and Rahmatulla at second, right fielder Brett Krill drew a walk. Gallego stole home from third to add to UCLA's cushion.
The Bruins return to action with a three-game series against Oral Roberts on Friday, March 19. Game time of the series opener is slated for 6 p.m. at UCLA's Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Game Notes: In three games in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Bruins' pitching staff totaled 43 strikeouts...Blair Dunlap, Niko Gallego, Cody Keefer, Brett Krill and Justin Uribe each hit safely in all three games over the weekend...Sunday's matchup between UCLA and Oklahoma marked the first time in the five-year history of the Whataburger College Classic in which two 2-0 teams met on the final afternoon of the three-day tournament...UCLA has outscored its opposition by a combined 112-31 margin in 13 games this season...the Bruins' pitching staff has logged a 2.00 ERA and Pac-10-leading .188 opponent batting average through the season's first three weeks...Tyler Rahmatulla improved his team-leading batting average to a .420 mark (21-for-50).