Bruins Split Doubleheader, Advance to Final Day of NCAA Regional
June 5, 2004
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - UCLA (35-28) dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to top-seeded Florida (42-20) before returning to crush second-seeded Oklahoma, 17-7. With the win, UCLA eliminated Oklahoma and advanced to the final day of action.
In the first game, the Bruins out-hit the Gators, 10-8, but a two-run home run from Ben Harrison would prove to be the difference in the game.
Florida scored in the top of the first inning to claim an early 1-0 lead. However, UCLA would answer back with a run in the bottom of the second to even the score. Preston Griffin singled to lead-off the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch two outs later. Mike Svetlic would then drive Griffin in with a single up the middle.
In the top of the fifth inning, Florida posted three runs as Harrison's homer drove in CJ Smith after Smith singled in Jonathan Tucker.
UCLA responded in the bottom of the frame as a lead-off home run from Billy Susdorf swung the momentum back towards the Bruins. It was Susdorf's fourth of the season and second in the last three games. Brett McMillan would walk after the homer and go to second on a ground-out. A fly ball would move him to third before he came around to score on a RBI-single from Griffin. After five innings, UCLA trailed 4-3.
Solid pitching from Florida starter Connor Falkenbach would keep UCLA off the board for the rest of the game as he pitched his second consecutive complete game.
Wes Whisler tied a season-high with seven strikeouts on the day. He was effective in his start, allowing only seven hits in seven innings. Brant Rutsich pitched the final two innings allowing one hit and striking out two. Both of his strikeouts came with two runners on in the eighth inning.
The Bruin offense exploded for a season-high 17 runs in the second game as UCLA dominated Oklahoma for the second straight day.
The Sooners would score in the first inning, but an eight-run second frame from the Bruins would end Oklahoma's chances of increasing its lead. The eight runs were the most the Bruins have scored in a single frame this season, while 13 batters came to the plate in the frame.
Back-to-back walks to Griffin and Matt Thayer started the inning before a double from Chris Denove brought them both home. A single from Svetlic drove in Denove before Jarrad Page walked to continue the no-out rally. Back-to-back outs would bring Ryan McCarthy to the plate. The junior shortstop hit his 14th homer of the season to drive in three and bring the Bruin lead to 6-1. Whisler would strikeout, but advance to first on a passed ball to continue the inning. A double from Griffin moved Whisler to third. Once again, Denove would bring two runners in with a single through the left side. At the end of two, UCLA led 8-1.
The Bruin bats would add three more in the seventh, highlighted by a home run from Thayer. It was his fourth of the season.
Oklahoma added three runs in the eighth, but the Bruins added six more in the bottom half of the inning to put the game out of reach. McCarthy would homer for the second time in the game in the inning. It marked his fourth multiple home run game of the season. A two-RBI triple from Brandon Averill and a double from Thayer also highlighted the inning. The Sooners added three in the top of the ninth, but it would not be enough to overtake UCLA as the Bruins won 17-7.
Starter David Johnson improved to 4-3 on the year in the win as he threw a career-high 7.1 innings. He struck out five in his outing.
Denove and McCarthy each had three hits and four RBI on the night, while Griffin scored four times. Thayer scored three and knocked in three.
The Bruins advance to the final day of action, facing-off again with top-seeded Florida at 4:00 central time. If UCLA defeats the Gators, the teams will play a second game for the right to advance to a NCAA Super Regional.