March 27, 2009
Final Box Score | Arizona Overall Stats
LOS ANGELES – A trio of home runs and a three-run rally in the ninth inning were not enough for the Arizona baseball team as it dropped the series opener to UCLA, 7-6, at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday evening.
Arizona starter Preston Guilmet was good for six innings and outlasted Bruin starter Gerrit Cole, but a three-run seventh inning for the Bruins was too much for the visiting Wildcats to overcome.
Leading 4-3, the Bruins (9-13, 3-1 Pac-10) chased Guilmet from the game and put the game out of reach with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Guilmet allowed back-to-back singles with two outs and was lifted in favor of Jason Stoffel.
With two runners on, Stoffel walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, then gave up a bases-clearing triple to Gabe Cohen to give UCLA a 7-3 lead.
Guilmet, who suffered his second consecutive loss and fell to 2-3 on the season, allowed six runs in 6 2/3 innings. The senior hurler struck out three, walked four and gave up seven hits.
The Wildcats (11-11, 0-4 Pac-10), trailing 7-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, mounted a late comeback bid. With two outs, Brad Glenn belted his second home run of the game – a three-run shot -- to left field to cut the Bruin lead to 7-6. But UCLA reliever Gavin Cole was able to strikeout Dillon Baird to end the rally.
The Bruins claimed an early lead with a single run in the first. Blair Dunlap walked to lead off the game, then moved to third on a hit-and-run single to right field on Eddie Murray’s single to right field. With runners at the corners and no outs, Guilmet induced a double play off the bat of Casey Hearther, which brought Dunlap in to score.
Coyle evened the game at 1-1 with a solo home run to centerfield in the top of the third inning.
The Wildcats squandered opportunities to score early and often, putting leadoff runners on base in the first, fourth and fifth innings. But, UA came away empty in each inning.
Perhaps the best scoring opportunity came in the opening frame. Bryce Ortega doubled to left field to lead off the game, but fly outs by Bobby Coyle and Brad Glenn left the UA shortstop at second base. Despite moving to third on a wild pitch and a walk to Dillon Baird, the scoring threat ended with a Steve Selsky strikeout to end the inning.
The Bruins opened things up in the home half of the fifth inning with two runs. With one out and a runner on base, Murray hit an RBI triple to right center field. Next, with the infield drawn in, Haerther hit a chopper to Rafael Valenzuela at second base. The UA second baseman attempted to cut the run down at the plate, but his throw to catcher Dwight Childs sailed to the backstop and Hearther advanced to second while Murray scored to extend the Bruin lead to 3-1.
In the sixth, Glenn put an end to UA’s lead off struggles, launching a solo home run to left field to put the Wildcats within a run, 3-2.
Baird followed Glenn’s round-tripper with a single, but it looked like the Wildcats would strand another runner on base with no outs. That was before Shaun Cooper, who made his first career start as the designated hitter and went 2-for-4 in the game, stepped to the plate with two outs. The freshman smacked a double down the left field line that rolled to the wall and allowed Baird to score from first.
Arizona did not score again until the attempted rally in the ninth. Bruin reliever Matt Grace, who improved to 2-1 on the season, held the Wildcats hitless over 2 1/3 innings before turning the game over to Brooks.
The two teams will be back in action on Saturday afternoon for the second game of the three game series. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.