April 18, 2010

Courtesy of Oregon

LOS ANGELES - For the second weekend in a row, Oregon has taken a series from a ranked team, but this time it was against No. 1 UCLA, as the Ducks defeated the Bruins 8-4 on Saturday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Ducks improve to 23-11 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-10, and now have a 6-3 record against ranked teams, and 3-2 mark against teams with a No. 1 ranking.

UO has also now won two Pac-10 series after taking two games at then No. 22 Stanford a week ago.

No. 1 UCLA is now 26-5 overall and 4-4 in the Pac-10.

The Ducks outhit the Bruins 13-7, and the pitching staff withstood a late UCLA rally.

Oregon starter Justin LaTempa (3-2) had one of his best outings of the season, lasting 6 and 1/3 innings, and allowing just three runs - only two earned - on three hits without issuing a walk. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native also fanned three and held UCLA scoreless and hitless into the fifth.

After building an 8-1 lead, UCLA began to rally in the bottom of the seventh, putting two runs on the board to close 8-3. It was a leadoff double that hurt Oregon as Tyler Rahmatulla doubled to left center. LaTempa coaxed a pop up from Justin Uribe, but an error on KC Serna at short spelled the end for LaTempa with two runners on and one out. Zack Thornton came on in relief, and Niko Gallego reached first being hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. With the bases loaded, an RBI single to right from Cody Keefer scored Rahmatulla, and then a groundout scored Dean Espy unearned before Thornton got the third out of the seventh.

A combination of Thornton and Joey Housey let the Ducks escape the bottom of the eighth unharmed, but UO did give up a solo run in the ninth with Drew Gagnier on the hill. The junior right-hander recovered as Beau Amaral lined into a double play, and Blair Dunlap grounded out to second.

Oregon was led by solid performances at the plate as Danny Pulfer and Curtis Raulinaitis each had two extra-base hits on the day. Pulfer was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, with a solo home run -his second of the season - and a double.

Raulinaitis led UO with 2-for-4 day and a career-high four RBIs with a two-run homer and a two-run triple. It was the second time this season Ducks have hit multiple home runs in a game.

Freshman Steven Packard was 2-for-3 with a run scored, RBI and walk. Jack Marder was 2-for-4 with a RBI and run scored, while J.J. Altobelli was 2-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.

UCLA starter Trevor Bauer (5-2) took the loss after allowing eight runs (six earned) on 12 hits and one walk, while fanning five.

For the second straight day, Oregon took the first lead as Pulfer got hold of Bauer's 2-1 offering, hitting a solo two-out homer to left in the top of the first. It was the second of his season and collegiate career.

An error on Uribe at first cost the Bruins two runs as the Ducks took advantage of their early opportunity in the second. Ryan Hambright reached first on the two-out error as Uribe bobbled the infield roller, and a well-executed bunt from Altobelli had runners safe at second and first for Raulinaitis. The senior then lined a two-run triple just fair down the right field line as Oregon took a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, LaTempa's shutout and no-hitter was ended when Espy's well-placed bunt caused problems for Oregon's defense. Altobelli fielded the ball bare-handed and his throw to first was wide allowing Espy to move to second on a base hit and error. Gallego's sacrifice moved Espy to third, and he scored UCLA's first run on Keefer's sacrifice fly to center. Amaral then singled to right to make Espy's run earned, but LaTempa picked him off to end the inning.

In the sixth, Oregon busted open the game scoring four runs on five hits to take a 7-1 lead. Packard's one-out, stand-up double on a 1-1 count started things off for the Ducks. Marder then connected on a first-pitch, RBI chopper for a single down the left field line that bounced over the head of Espy at third to score Packard. Two at-bats later, after Marder moved to second on a wild pitch, Oregon put the hit and run on, and Altobelli connected on a RBI single shot back up the middle to plate Marder. Altobelli moved to second on a balk, a call that UCLA's third base coach Steve Pearse did not like causing him to be ejected from the game. But it didn't matter as Raulinaitis crushed his second homer of the season - and the second of the game for the Ducks - as UO took a 7-1 lead.

The Ducks added a single run in the eighth as Pulfer led off with a stand-up double to left center. Pulfer moved to third on a wild pitch, and Packard connected on a RBI single to score Pulfer as UO's advantage climbed to 8-1.

Also, UCLA hitting coach Rick Vanderhook was tossed in bottom fourth with 3-2 count and two outs to Uribe.

The Ducks and Bruins will play the series finale at noon on Sunday from Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UO will then travel home for classes on Monday, but will return to the road to fly out to Spokane for a two-game set at Gonzaga on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Oregon returns home to PK Park on Friday to host a three-game series with USC beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday. Don't forget its Elvis Night on Friday, and anyone who chooses to dress up like the King of Rock and Roll will receive free admission. A trip to Las Vegas will also be given away.