Sunday, May 23, 2010
Baseball: UCLA brings out the brooms
By Blair Angulo
BERKELEY -- Apparently, being on the bad end of a sweep was what the UCLA baseball team needed to get going again.
With Sunday's 11-2 victory over California, the No. 10 Bruins improved to 11-1 since dropping three straight at home to Arizona State. UCLA (41-11, 16-8 Pac-10) has swept its way through three straight conference opponents (Washington, USC and Cal) and tallied the most regular-season wins since 1979 (also 41). In fact, the team has not been 30 games over the .500 mark in 41 years.
These Bruins might be on to something.
"Right now, it seems like it might have been the best thing for us," head coach John Savage said in regard to the three losses to the Sun Devils. "We got knocked off our pedestal a bit when we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. ASU totally dominated for three games. There wasn't much said, really."
Instead, UCLA has let its play do the talking.
The Bruins were at it again Sunday at Evans Diamond, torching Cal starter Justin Jones for seven runs in the first two innings to all but deflate a Golden Bears squad that committed nine errors in the three-game set.
"We wanted to score first, hands down," said Dean Espy, who had three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored Sunday. "The coaches asked me to bunt in the first -- you don't see much of that from a No. 4 hitter."
Espy's bunt turned into a single and plated the Bruins' first run. His next hit -- a two-run bomb to left-center field -- put UCLA up 7-0.
It was more than enough for starter Rob Rasmussen (8-2), who held Cal (27-22, 11-13) to a run on two hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"We had some speed bumps early, but its nice that we've really come back and three Pac-10 sweeps is huge," Rasmussen told Ryan Eshoff of the Daily Bruin. "It's very hard to sweep in the Pac-10 and to do it three times in a row is really a testament to our team. "