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Sunday, April 18, 2010
Baseball: Top-ranked Bruins drop first series

By Blair Angulo

In all likelihood, the UCLA baseball team will fall a few spots in the Baseball America weekly collegiate poll on Monday after losing two of three to Oregon this weekend.

The first series-loss had to come sometime, but the fact that it came at home and when UCLA was ranked No. 1 in the country makes it a bit more dramatic. UCLA is 5-5 after starting the season on a 22-game win streak.

But this weekend's losses may not be all that bad.

Prior to this weekend, the Bruins (27-5, 5-4 Pac-10) had gone eight weeks without losing a series. There was no billing to live up to -- only the pressure to keep the win streak alive. Now head coach John Savage's bunch will have something to strive for.

Savage and Co. have grabbed attention, as evidenced by the capacity crowd of 1,986 that saw the Bruins salvage the finale with a 5-1 win thanks to a four-run first on Sunday. UCLA currently sits in fifth place in the highly competitive Pac-10 Conference.

Still, ace right-handers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer probably can't pitch as bad as they did on Friday and Saturday (the pair combined to allow 13 runs in 12 innings). Rob Rasmussen responded well on Sunday, holding the Ducks (23-12, 6-6) to just four hits in six and one-third innings to earn his sixth win.

The formula is still in place. And for now, falling from the top spot may not be the worst thing.