No. 15 UCLA Baseball Edges UC Riverside, 3-2, in Walk-off Fashion
March 9, 2010
LOS ANGELES - Shortstop Niko Gallego's sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed pinch-runner Chris Giovinazzo to tag up and score from third base, leading the No. 15 UCLA baseball team past UC Riverside, 3-2, on Tuesday evening at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
UCLA pushed its record to 10-0, the Bruins' best start to any season in the modern era (dating to 1955). UCLA's 10-game win streak is the program's longest since February 1982.
Left fielder Cody Keefer led the Bruins at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort. The Bruins also received two hits from center fielder Beau Amaral (2-for-4), second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla (2-for-3) and catcher Steve Rodriguez (2-for-4). Amaral, Rahmatulla and Gallego each had one RBI in the non-conference victory.
UCLA's rally in the ninth inning began with a seven-pitch at-bat to Rodriguez, who fouled off a high pop fly off the first base side that was dropped in foul territory by first baseman Brian McConkey. Rodriguez connected for a single to center field and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt executed by third baseman Dean Espy.
After being inserted as a pinch-runner at second base, Giovinazzo advanced to third on a wild pitch by relief pitcher Mike Wolford. On a 2-and-1 count, Gallego skied a fly ball to center field, deep enough to allow Giovinazzo to tag up and score the game-winning run.
Left-hander Mitchell Beacom (1-0) earned his first career victory, recording three strikeouts without allowing any baserunners in 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. UCLA right-hander Garett Claypool recorded seven strikeouts and issued one walk in 5.2 innings as the Bruins' starting pitcher. Claypool limited UC Riverside (7-5) to two runs and three hits in his second start of the season.
UC Riverside right-hander Dustin Emmons (2-1) was charged with the loss in relief, allowing one run (unearned) and four hits in 2.1 innings.
The Bruins scored one run in each of the first two innings to claim a 2-0 lead. Amaral led off the first inning with a base hit to left field and scored on a one-out triple to the gap in right-center field by Rahmatulla. In the bottom of the second, Amaral scored Rodriguez on a bases-loaded groundout.
UC Riverside tied the contest, 2-2, with a two-run sixth inning. After a one-out double by first baseman Brian McConkey, third baseman Eddie Young lined a run-scoring double to left-center field to send home McConkey. Catcher Robert Brantly's two-out single to center field scored Young from second base.
UCLA returns to action in the Whataburger College Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas on Friday, March 12. The Bruins face Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 4 p.m. (PT) at Whataburger Field. UCLA takes on Mississippi State on Saturday (3 p.m., PT) and Oklahoma on Sunday (9 a.m. PT). Fans can follow pitch-by-pitch action of each game via GameTracker on uclabruins.com.
Game Notes: The Bruins won in nearly identical walk-off fashion Tuesday night against UC Riverside as they did on Saturday afternoon versus Nebraska - in both games, UCLA earned the victory with a walk-off sacrifice fly, allowing a baserunner to tag up and score from third base...Garett Claypool made his 23rd career start on Tuesday...with seven strikeouts against UC Riverside, Claypool has now collected 16 strikeouts and just two walks in 14.2 innings this season...Tyler Rahmatulla has hit safely in nine of UCLA's 10 games and has registered a .432 batting average (16-for-37)...four UCLA pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts and one walk in 9.0 innings on Tuesday.