LOS ANGELES—UCLA lefty Rob Rasmussen scored a nifty hat trick on Sunday night. He helped the Bruins to a 6-2 win over UC Irvine, led UCLA to a sweep of the regional and boosted his draft stock all in the space of three hours.
In shutting down the Anteaters, Rasmussen exhibited much sharper stuff and cleaner mechanics than in his early season starts. The 5-foot-10 160-pound junior features a 90-92 mph rising fastball that jumps at the hitter. He adds an old-fashioned 76 curve with near 12-to-6 break, an 84 change and a sharp 82-84 slider.
In his delivery, Rasmussen now loads up well on his back hip and does a fine job of driving off his back leg, staying closed, and creating a downward plane. His arm action is easier and freer than in the early season. Always a quick worker, Rasmussen is doing a much better job of pacing himself lately. Rasmussen could use more flex in his front landing leg but he finishes well, doing a nice job of getting out over his front leg.
Rasmussen was able to mix and command all four pitches exceptionally well Sunday, striking out seven and walking none in a six-inning stint. His only mistakes were made to UCI’s Drew Hillman and Jordan Leyland, who blasted solo home runs. This proved an old adage: No pitcher, no matter how talented, can leave the ball up and out over the plate to good hitters.
UCLA nursed a precarious 3-2 lead into the top of the eighth, when third baseman Cody Regis sealed the win with a towering three-run home run. Righty Erik Goeddel tossed a scoreless pair of innings before closer Dan Klein finished UC Irvine off in the ninth.
Finally healthy after a long recovery from Tommy John surgery, Goeddel enjoyed an eyebrow-raising outing Sunday. He fired a blistering four-seam fastball that sat in the 93-94 mph range and peaked at 95. Goeddel added a harsh 86 slider. As a pro, Goeddel profiles comfortably as either a closer or setup man. Scouts sitting behind home plate jokingly commented, “Erik, darn it! Don’t throw so well this late! I’ll have to file a new report on you!”
UCLA advances to a super regional at a site to be determined. In the Fullerton regional final tonight, Minnesota faces Cal State Fullerton for the right to advance. The same two clubs met on Friday with the Golden Gophers winning, 3-1.
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