April 26, 2009
Bruins battle to take
series from Beavers
By Abbey Mastracco
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
LOS ANGELES - The question on the Westside this weekend was who
could hold a lead. Standout defenses and clutch pitching
performances made it impossible to determine a winner until the
very last innings in the Pac-10 match between No. 20 Oregon
State (9-6, 24-11) and UCLA (11-7, 19-21).
So when the Beavers’ defense began to unravel in the seventh,
the Bruins took full advantage of it. And the answer to the
question was UCLA, as they were able to hold on to a 5-2 lead
Sunday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium, to take a 2-1
“It seems like we’re finally getting over the hump a little
bit,” said UCLA head coach John Savage. “We beat a very, very
good Oregon State team, a Top-20 team, this weekend and we
Sunday’s win earned the Bruins their second straight Pac-10
series win and should give their RPI a boost. The key series
victory keeps them in postseason contention, although they still
remain on the bubble.
“I think you can say that we’re a team that’s certainly in the
mix but we just have to keep playing,” Savage said.
Sunday’s game unfolded much the same way Friday and Saturday’s
games had, with Oregon State taking a slim lead in the first and
UCLA coming back to tie with a solo shot a few innings later.
The Beavers put up one more in the fifth, and the Bruins
manufactured two more of their own to take a 3-2 lead in bottom
Things quickly went downhill for the Beavers in the seventh when
the stellar defense that had been on display all weekend began
to crumble. Oregon State allowed two more runs to score on three
With two outs and Steve Rodriguez still on first after a leadoff
single, Oregon State reliever James Nygren threw wild to first
trying to hold the runner on. The ball drifted all the way back
to the visitor’s bullpen and Rodriguez reached third.
Blair Dunlap then reached safely when first baseman Carter Bell
dropped the ball behind him on a routine putout. Cody Decker
then lined a single down the left field line driving in
Rodriguez. But left fielder Rob Folsom dropped the ball trying
to throw to third, allowing Dunlap to come around and give the
Bruins a 5-2 lead.
Gavin Brooks, after blowing the save in Saturday’s game, came on
the mound to get the last out after Matt Grace and Jason Novak
held the Beavers scoreless for 3.2.
“You can only say so much about Grace and Novak and what they
did,” Savage said. “But we needed Gavin at the end. Gavin knew
how important this series was for us, that it was really, really
critical to win this series.”
Pinch-hitter Adalberto Santos worked the southpaw for a long
at-bat but eventually popped a lazy fly to center for the last
out. The save was Brooks’ seventh.
“Last night was tough,” Brooks said. “To be cruising like that
after we did so well and battled back. I was pretty upset last
night and I didn’t want to let that happen again.”
Right-hander Charles Brewer (2-4) got the win, giving up two
earned runs off six hits and striking out four in five innings.
The Beavers’ Jorge Reyes took the loss, just his second of the
season. Reyes lasted six innings, giving up three runs (one
earned) off six hits, walking three and blanking seven.
The freshmen led the game for UCLA with Rodriguez going 3 for 3,
scoring three runs and driving in one, while Tyler Rahmatulla
finished 3 for 4.
Ryan Ortiz finished off a big offensive series going 2 for 3
with a RBI. Joey Wong went 2 for 4 and scored twice.