Friday, May 29

Baseball keeps up win streak

The Bruins maintain record season-opening at 20-0 with series of victories over Cal Poly

daily bruin file photo Junior pitcher Rob Rasmussen struck out nine in 5.2 innings during the No. 9 Bruins 6-4 defeat of Cal Poly. Saturday's win puts the Bruins at 20-0 on the season. Blair Angulo / Daily Bruin

Spring break was anything but that for the UCLA baseball team.

Not that anyone was complaining.

The Bruins played seven games following finals week and won all of them to extend their winning streak to a staggering 20 games.

The 20-0 season-opening record is the best start in program history.

The latest batch of victories came over the weekend, as No. 9 UCLA swept Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in a three-game set at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

And for a change, the wins were a bit more contested.

After an 11-7 win Thursday night, the Bruins had to come from behind to take the final two games, 4-3 on Friday night and 6-4 on Saturday afternoon.

Junior left-hander Rob Rasmussen gave up a run in each of the first two innings to put UCLA in a hole on Sunday.

But the Bruins’ lineup mustered a pair of two-out runs to knot the score and got some breathing room by tacking on four unanswered runs in the next four innings.

“We always say that ones don’t hurt us,” said Rasmussen, who won his third game of the year by striking out nine batters in five and two-thirds innings.

“Obviously, you don’t want to give up runs and get down early. At the same time, I knew and everyone knew that we were going to score more than two runs,” Rasmussen said.

Friday night’s win ““ the team’s 19th to begin the season ““ was more dramatic.

Sophomore right-hander Trevor Bauer allowed a three-run blast in the fourth frame, but went eight innings to keep UCLA within striking distance.

“I have a lot of confidence in this offense, so I knew if I just kept it at 3-0, they’d come through and get us enough runs to get the W,” said Bauer, who won his fifth game.

But the Bruins still trailed, 3-2, with just five offensive outs remaining.

Insert another rally.

Senior designated hitter Blair Dunlap and junior shortstop Niko Gallego singled before sophomore second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla lined a two-run double to put the Bruins up 4-3 and prompt a loud response from the fans in attendance.

“I was looking for a pitch up to drive and I got it,” said Rahmatulla, who is batting a team-best .453 this season.

“I really have to give Niko and Blair credit ““ they had some incredible at-bats before me. They battled to get on base.”

Sophomore closer Dan Klein extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings with a perfect ninth.

“We’re proud of our team,” coach John Savage said. “We know that we haven’t accomplished anything. We’re playing good baseball, but we know there are tremendous challenges ahead of us.”

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