LOS ANGELES – It came down to the final strike, but Scott McGough wasn’t about to let all his hard work go to waste as the sophomore reliever got UCLA’s Cody Keefer to swing at strike three as the Ducks upset No.1 UCLA, 5-4, on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
UCLA had runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, but McGough struck out Keefer to keep victory in the grasp of Oregon.
The Ducks are now 5-3 against ranked teams this season, and 2-2 against clubs ranked No. 1 in the nation as UO improves to 22-11 overall and 5-5 in the Pac-10. The No. 1 Bruins fall to 26-4 overall and 4-3 in league.
The final four innings of the game were scoreless for both teams, as UCLA brought on a slew of relievers, and the Ducks relied on McGough.
The Pittsburgh native came on in the fifth with two outs and a runner on, and although he hit one batter, McGough got the third out and was nearly unflappable the rest of the way.
On his way to his fourth win of the season, the sophomore right-hander tossed four and 1/3 innings of relief holding a offense that came into the game hitting .331, scoreless and to just three knocks while fanning four.
McGough was pitching in relief of starter Tyler Anderson, who ran into trouble in the fifth, surrendering a second two-run homer, this time to Dean Espy – the first baseman’s fifth of the season as UCLA closed 5-4. Anderson struck out Keefer looking, but then Brett Krill took first on a hit-by-pitch and Anderson’s night was ended as McGough came on.
Oregon’s offense took the lead in the second and never looked back. Eddie Rodriguez’s infield single led off the inning, and with the hit-and-run on, shortstop Niko Gallego was pulled over toward second leaving a gaping hole for Steven Packard’s single to left center. Jack Marder tried to sacrifice the runners over, but UCLA starter Gerrit Cole fielded the bunt and made the play to erase Rodriguez at third.
With runners on first and second and one out, Ryan Hambright took an 0-2 count and turned it to an RBI single straight up the middle that scored Packard as the Ducks took a 1-0 lead. Cole struck out J.J. Altobelli for out two, but Raulinaitis’ dropped a RBI single over Gallego at short to score Marder as Oregon took a 2-0 advantage.
In the third facing a 2-2 count, Marcus Piazzisi led off the inning with a solo shot over the wall in right center to give UO a 3-0 lead for his third round-tripper of the season.Danny Pulfer was then walked after reaching a full count against Cole, and moved to second on Rodriguez’s ground out. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, and stayed put when Cole walked Packard on five pitches. With runners on the corners and one out, Marder drove a RBI single to right as Pulfer scored and UO took a 4-0 lead. Cole then struck out Hambright and Altobelli to end the inning.
In the third, UCLA cut Oregon’s 4-0 lead in half as Blair Dunlap hammered a two-run homer on a first-pitch offering from Anderson. The lefty had led off the bottom of the third with a strikeout, but walked Steve Rodriguez before surrendering a round-tripper to Dunlap.
The Bruins loaded the bases after Anderson hit a batter, surrendered a single and then issues a full-count walk, but the lefty coaxed Krill to fly out to center for the third out of the inning.
Oregon added a single spot in the fifth as a trio of freshmen – Packard, Marder and Hambright – loaded the bases on two singles sandwiched around a walk. Cole recovered to retire the next three batters, but not before Raulinaitis’ one-out RBI groundout scored Packard who singled into shallow left to lead off the fifth.
Anderson finished his outing allowing four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five.
For Cole, who took his first lost of the season and fell to 6-1, the right-hander went five innings allowing a season-high five runs on a season-high eight hits. He walked four and struck out five.
Eddie Rodriguez finished the game 2-for-5 for the Ducks, while Packard was 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Hambright was 2-for-3 with a RBI, and Raulinaitis was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Both Marder and Piazzisi were 1-for-4 with a RBI and run scored.
Dunlap had a homer and double as the leadoff hitter for UCLA, while Espy was 2-for-5 with a round-tripper as well.
Oregon and UCLA resume the series today at 2 p.m. from Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Notes: Oregon is now 5-3 against ranked teams…the Ducks and Bruins last played in Los Angeles in 1979 as UO lost both games in a doubleheader…this is the first time UO has beaten UCLA in Los Angeles since a 3-2 victory on March 26, 1975.