Thursday, September 21

Strong Bruin batters, bullpen bring win

The rain could not stop Decker’s two-run home run, as the ball sailed through the sky and went over the fence in right-center field. Decker’s blast gave the Bruins (12-17) the lead for good, as they would cruise to a crucial 8-3 victory against No. 5 UC Irvine.

“I felt that I got a good enough piece of the ball,” Decker said. “The only reason why I thought it wouldn’t go out was because of the rain. The ball at night here doesn’t fly very well, but it went out and that’s all I’m happy about.”

The Bruins have much to be happy about after a non-conference victory over the highly ranked Anteaters (19-9).

“The win was big when you’re talking about momentum,” coach John Savage said.

Shortly following Decker’s go-ahead blast, the umpiring crew stopped the game to allow the rain to pass by. Action resumed 30 minutes later and Decker was at it again, singling to center field to score another run and extend the Bruins’ lead to 4-2.

The run turned out to be the last the UCLA pitchers would need.

The Bruin bullpen was effective once again, this time in relief of junior right-handed starter Garett Claypool, who exited the game following the rain delay.

Tuesday night’s performance showed what the Bruins’ deep bullpen is truly capable of. UCLA relievers ““ sophomore left-hander Rob Rasmussen, redshirt freshman right-hander Erik Goeddel, and junior left-hander Gavin Brooks ““ combined to allow just one run on six hits in six strong innings. Bruin pitchers struck out 12 UC Irvine batters ““ the 13th double-digit strikeout performance of the season. But perhaps most impressively, they did not walk any batters.

“We really came out after the rain delay and played as well as you can,” Savage said.

The Bruin offense was impressive in its own right. Decker and fellow senior second baseman Eddie Murray combined to drive in six runs on four hits. Seven different UCLA players registered multi-hit performances.

“I was feeling good at the plate,” Decker said, “all day, even when I got out a few times.”

Despite facing a tough non-conference opponent in challenging weather, the Bruins showed why they were ranked in the top 10 earlier this season. That was something Savage pointed to after the game.

“It goes to show what type of team we can be,” Savage said. “We’ve played an extremely difficult schedule. We’re growing up.”

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