Wow, what a win. This series went from the best of times in Game 1 to the worst of times in Game 2, then the Beavers took us for a roller coaster ride in Game 3. The Beavers held the lead 2-0 in the early innings, but UCLA was able to hang a five in the top of the fourth that lead to the removal of Jorge Reyes and a new rinkle in the game.
The early exit of Jorge does not sit will with me, but I like the fact that the bullpen was able to get the job done. It seems like Casey is going to the bullpen a lot quicker with Tanner and Jorge now, as the Beavers just need to win every game. It's a bit harder to take Stutes out of the game, since he's the #1 guy, and pulling the #1 guy in favor of the #5 or #6 guy out of the pen has to be a tough decision.
Funk was talking about this in the game thread too, but the balk called on Jorge in the fourth inning really got him out of his rhythm. Jorge had just given up a hit to start off the inning, then balked Alden Carrithers to second with Casey Haerther at the plate. From there, Jorge threw a wild pitch that moved Carrithers to third, gave up a hit to Haether that scored Carrithers, and it went downhill from there. A two run homer by Cody Decker two batters later prompted Casey to go to the bullpen for Grbabac.
Grbavac would up going three and a third, giving up two runs on four hits. He struck out five. Kraig Sitton came on in the seventh and didn't allow a hit. Taylor Starr and Kevin Rhoderick did the same, keeping the Bruins hitless from the middle of the seventh inning on.
Rhoderick came into the game in the ninth with a one run lead. He walked Tim Murphy in a nine pitch at-bat to start the inning, but then got Ryan Babineau to hit a taylor made double play ball to Joey Wong at shortstop. From there, it was Rhoderick vs. UCLA infielder Jermaine Curtis with two outs. Rhoderick won the battle, striking out Curtis on four pitches to earn his eleventh save of the season.
But the true hero of the game was catcher Ryan Ortiz. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, Ortiz hit the first pitch he saw from pitcher Brandon Crawford sharply down the right field line. UCLA right fielder Raul Duran knows he should of caught the ball, but he dropped it, and it was ruled foul. What's funny is that Ortiz was arguing the call on his way back to the plate, oblivious to what he was about to do.
With a 0-1 count, Ryan took Crawford deep to left to end what would become one of the most clutch at-bats in recent Beaver memory. The grand slam put the Beavers up 8-7, and doused UCLA's hope for a series win.
Instead, the Beavers got the series win, and move to 11-10 in Pac-10 play. The Bruins fall to 8-10, and will have to fight an uphill battle if they want to get into the post-season.
All in all it was a great, competitive series for the Beavers. I tip my hat to the Bruins for a great series, and wish them the best in the rest of their season.