No. 15 UCLA Baseball Edges UC Riverside, 3-2

Feb. 13, 2007

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Los Angeles - Sophomore right-hander Jason Novak (1-0) struck out seven batters in 4.0 innings of relief to earn the win as No. 11 UCLA defeated UC Riverside, 3-2, at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday night. Sophomore Brandon Crawford led UCLA's offense, finishing 3-for-4 with two singles, one triple and two runs scored.

Freshman Garett Claypool pitched three no-hit innings in his first collegiate start and recorded three strikeouts. The right-hander from West Hills, Calif., made just 13 pitches - 11 for strikes - in the first inning. Novak struck out the side on 12 pitches in the top of the fourth and allowed one hit in four innings.

Senior Kevin Brophy pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts, and redshirt junior Brant Rustich allowed two runs (one earned) in the ninth to notch his second save. UCLA's four pitchers combined for a team season-high 14 strikeouts.

Trailing 3-0 entering the ninth inning, UC Riverside scored two runs before the Bruins shut the door. Pinch-hitter Ryan Goetz singled to center, scoring Mark Samuelson from third base. Left-fielder Aaron Wible took third base on the single and scored on an ensuing pass ball. Rustich struck out the side in the ninth inning, retiring Jeff Dunbar on a 2-2 count to end the game.

Crawford started the Bruins' two-run first inning with a single to right-center and advanced to second on senior Tim Stewart's base-hit to left. Both runners advanced one base when UC Riverside first baseman Mark Samuelson made an errant throw to shortstop Jaime Pedroza. Sophomore Ryan Babineau plated both Crawford and Stewart on an 0-2 single to center field with two outs.

UCLA (3-4) added their third run in the seventh inning. With two outs, Crawford tripled down the right-field line and scored when Highlander third baseman Kyle Barratt misplayed a ground ball hit by Tim Stewart.

UC Riverside senior Taylor Bills (0-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing just two runs (both unearned) on six hits in 5.0 innings. After seven Bruins went to the plate in the first inning, Bills faced just 16 over the next four frames.

UCLA returns to Jackie Robinson Stadium this weekend to host a three-game series with East Carolina (2-1). First pitch on Friday is slated for 6 p.m. The Bruins and Pirates take the field Saturday at 2 p.m. and conclude the non-conference series on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Game Notes: Jason Novak's seven strikeouts established his new career-high (previous high was four, in two games)...freshman Garett Claypool became the third Bruin to make his collegiate debut on the mound this season...UC Riverside head coach Doug Smith was ejected in the top of the fourth inning by home plate umpire Jeff Patterson after arguing a check-swing strike-three call against Kyle Barratt.

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