No. 23 UCLA Baseball Edges No. 16 Ole Miss, 7-6, in Thriller
March 10, 2007
Oxford, Miss. - Freshman Casey Haerther registered a career-day with a 3-for-5 performance, two runs scored and two RBI to lift the No. 23 UCLA baseball team past No. 16 Ole Miss, 7-6, Saturday afternoon before 4,856 at Oxford-University Stadium. Redshirt junior Brant Rustich pitched 3.0 scoreless innings to record his fourth save.
In a down-to-the-wire contest, the Bruins carried a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth, Rustich's third inning of work. With one out and runners at the corners, the hard-throwing right-hander induced a double play - shortstop Brandon Crawford to second baseman Alden Carrithers to first baseman Tim Stewart - from third baseman Cody Overbeck to end the game and seal the road victory for UCLA (8-8).
UCLA left-hander Brendan Lafferty (2-0) earned the victory after striking out first baseman Andrew Clark to end a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning. Ole Miss left-hander Nathan Baker (1-1) was tagged with the loss.
The Bruins led 6-1 before Ole Miss (12-5) rallied to tie the score with three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth, before UCLA broke the 6-6 deadlock in the top of the seventh. Crawford delivered a one-out double to the left-center gap and reached third on a wild pitch. Brady Dolan lifted a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Crawford to tag and score from third.
Ole Miss got on the board first, scoring one run in the first inning before the Bruins tagged Rebel starting pitcher Lance Lynn with three runs in each of the second and third innings. With one out in the second frame, left fielder Mickey Weisser singled to right and advanced to second on Haerther's base hit to left. Weisser scored tied the contest, 1-1, on designated hitter Will Penniall's base-hit to left field. Babineau brought home Haerther and Penniall with a double to left field.
UCLA tacked on three more runs in the third inning. With one out, Haerther drove home Crawford and right fielder Gabe Cohen with a single up the middle to give UCLA a 5-1 cushion. Haerther reached third on a wild pitch and a single before scoring on an errant throw to second base by Rebel catcher Alex Kliman on catcher Ryan Babineau's stolen base.
Ole Miss cut UCLA's lead to 6-4 with a three-run fifth inning. Center fielder Logan Power belted a full-count pitch over the left field wall to begin the frame. With one out, left fielder Justin Henry reached first with a base-hit to right, and shortstop Zack Cozart followed with a two-run home run to left field.
The Rebels tied the contest, 6-6, in the sixth. Overbeck led off with a solo home run to left. With one out, catcher Alex Kliman singled to right, advanced to second on a pass ball, moved to third on a single and scored on a groundout.
UCLA and Ole Miss conclude their three-game series Sunday at 10 a.m. (PT) at Oxford-University Stadium. The Bruins will send left-hander Gavin Brooks (1-1) to the hill, as right-hander Brett Bukvich (2-1) will take the mound for the Rebels.
Game Notes: UCLA left-hander Tim Murphy allowed four runs off nine hits in 5.0 innings in his first collegiate start; Murphy struck out seven batters and did not issue a walk...the Bruins used four pitchers in the sixth inning and six in the game...with his double to left-center field in the seventh, Brandon Crawford has hit safely in 16 of UCLA's 17 games...Ryan Babineau posted a 2-for-4 effort, his third multi-hit game of the season.