UCLA 11 Fullerton 4
Whether or not Jeff Kaplan’s eye was still bothering him, something was definitely off for him tonight at Goodwin Field. Kaplan faced a total of 19 batters over 3 innings, giving up 6 earned while striking out 4.
After Bruin starter Charles Brewer sent the Titan leadoff batters down in order to start the game, the UCLA offense got started when All Pac-10 2B Alden Carrithers was beaned by Titan starter Jeff Kaplan. Kaplan thought he had finished off the inning when with two strikes on Bruin cleanup hitter Casey Hearther, he started back to the dugout on what he and most of the Cal State Fullerton faithful thought was strike 3. Two pitches later, Hearther hit a hanging breaking ball out of the park to right field, giving UCLA the early 2-0 lead. Kaplan then struck out SS Brandon Crawford to end the inning, with Titan fans still yelling at home plate umpire Darrell Arnold over the potential strike three call.
The Bruins were at it again in the Bottom of the 2nd inning after Kaplan issued consecutive walks to Catcher Ryan Babineau and last night’s starting pitcher Tim Murphy, who was DH’ing. After Brady Dolan struck out on a wicked 1-2 curveball, Blair Dunlap hit a ball up the middle that was stopped by Titan SS Christian Colon, but he failed to make an out on it due to the good effort by Tim Murphy to get to second. Jermaine Curtis then came through with a double to the track in deep left which one hopped the wall, scoring Babineau and Murphy. Kaplan, maybe rattled by the previous double, beaned his second batter of the game in Mickey Weisser. After a sacrifice fly to center that scored Dunlap, Casey Hearther, who homered in the previous inning, grounded into the 6-4 putout to end the three run inning for the Bruins.
The Titan offense got started in the top of the 3rd after a Joe Scott strikeout when CF Josh Fellhauer doubled down the left field line, followed by a Christian Colon double, scoring Fellhauer. The crowd got back into this game, but only briefly as Erik Komatsu and Jared Clark both popped out, ending the inning.
The quieted Fullerton crowd was drowned out by Bruin cheers when to lead off the 3rd Brandon Crawford hit a full count pitch over the fence to center for his 6th homerun of the season and 1st career postseason homerun. Three batters later, Brady Dolan’s nub towards shortstop was overthrown by 3B Joel Weeks. Blair Dunlap then delivered a chopper over the third baseman’s head, scoring Dolan. Kaplan got out of the inning by striking out Jermaine Curtis, who has been on fire so far in this regional. Over 3 innings, Jeff Kaplan threw 78 pitches, leading the Titans to go to their bullpen much earlier than they wanted to in Travis Kelly.
Brian Wilson looked to get spark the Titan offense in the top of the fourth as he did last night in the in over Rider, but his line drive was stopped by a diving Casey Heather, who flipped the ball to Charles Brewer for the out. Gary Brown got his way into scoring position by hitting a flare over the head of Alden Carrithers and by stealing 2nd. After a groundout to third, he scored on a Dustin Garneau single to center. The oncoming rally was stemmed though as Brewer’s high heat was too much for Joe Scott, as he was sent down on strikes for the second time of the night.
The Titans 1-run efforts in the 3rd and 4th innings were not nearly enough as UCLA put up another three runs in the fourth off of reliever Travis Kelly on a Brandon Crawford double off of the Rite-Loom Flooring Company sign in left and a wild pitch. Travis Kelly only lasted 2/3 of an inning giving up 3 ER on 4 hits. Ryan Ackland came into the game and got Brady Dolan to ground out to second to stop the bleeding.
Brian Wilson got his 16th RBI of the season in the top of the 5th for Fullerton, scoring Christian Colon who had singled earlier in the inning for the Titans 3rd straight 1-run inning. Ackland sent UCLA down in order in the 5th and 6th innings, but Fullerton failed to take advantage as Jason Novak shut them down over in the top halves of the 6th and 7th, resulting in part of the 2,912 in attendance head down the hill and onto Yorba Linda Boulevard early.
The wheels fell off for Ackland in the bottom of the 7th as he walked the bases loaded, and with one out Jermaine Curtis knocked in his 3rd RBI of the evening on a single, scoring Babineau, ending Ackland’s evening after 2 2/3 innings, giving up 1 hit and 1 run. Relief pitcher Jason Dovel came into the game and made quick work of Mickey Weisser and Alden Carrithers, leaving the bases loaded.
Fullerton 2B Corey Jones, who replaced Joe Scott in the top of the 6th, drove in Joel Weeks who reached on a Brandon Crawford throwing error, but when they’re down 5 after 2 innings, they had no shot to come back since they failed to put together a single multi-run inning.
The #1 seed Titans now face a rejuvenated #2 Virginia squad in an elimination game at 7 PM, broadcast nationally on ESPNU. Virginia won the coin toss and will be the home team.