June 8, 2013
Fullerton, Calif. - The UCLA Baseball team scored three runs in the bottom of the first and got a terrific outing on the mound from junior Nick Vander Tuig as they defeated the Cal State Fullerton Titans, 3-0, to advance to their third College World Series in four years.
Vander Tuig picked up his 12th win of the year by scattering eight hits over 6.1 shutout innings. He also struck out four while walking none. Thomas Eshelman took the loss for the Titans despite throwing a complete game, giving up three runs (all unearned). Sophomore David Berg earned his 21st save of the year to extend his single-season UCLA record.
The Bruins jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the first, scoring three off of Eshelman with the help of two Fullerton errors. After the first two batters were retired, sophomore Eric Filia reached on an error by Titan first baseman Carlos Lopez. Junior Pat Valaika singled in the next at-bat, and then junior Kevin Williams stepped in and grounded a ball to third that looked to be the end of the inning. Fullerton third baseman Matt Chapman fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw poulled Lopez off the bag at first and Williams reached to load the bases. Junior Pat Gallagher would make the Titans pay on the next at-bat, smacking a single to center to bring in Filia and Valaika to make it 2-0 Bruins. Sophomore Shane Zeile then followed suit with a single to center that brought home Williams, giving UCLA a three-run advantage.
The next two innings went scoreless, and in the top of the fourth the Titans threatened by putting two on with one out. However, Vander Tuig hung tough, and got a groundout from Chad Wallach before striking out Jake Jefferies to end the threat. Then in the sixth, J.D. Davis led off with a double to left to start the inning, but once again Vander Tuig battled and retired the next three hitters to strand Davis and keep the lead at three.
Cal State Fullerton continued to keep the pressure on in the top of the seventh, getting the leadoff man via a single by Jefferies. After Vander Tuig induced a pop up to the catcher from pinch-hitter Clay Williamson, freshman James Kaprielian came in from the bullpen. Kaprielian walked the first batter, but settled down and got Lopez to ground back to the pitcher and Chapman to fly out to hold the lead.
A similar situation occurred in the top of the eighth, as junior Zack Weiss came in and got the first two outs, but then relinquished two straight singles to bring the tying run to the plate in Jefferies. Berg entered and got Jefferies to ground out to short though, once again keeping the Titans off the board. The sophomore right-hander then shut the door in the ninth to secure the 3-0 victory and send the Bruins to Omaha.
Overall, Gallagher led the Bruins at the plate by going 2-4 with two RBI. Zeile added a hit and a RBI as well while Filia and Valaika each logged a hit and a run scored.
UCLA (44-17) will return to action at the College World Series against LSU on Saturday, June 15 or Sunday, June 16 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The complete College World Series bracket will be finalized, along with game times, no later than Monday, June 10.
Game Notes: John Savage became UCLA's all-time winningest postseason manager with the victory tonight, earning his 27th postseason win as UCLA head coach...this is the second year in a row that the Bruins have gone 5-0 in the Regional and Super Regional rounds en route to the College World Series...the Bruins join Florida and South Carolina as the only teams in the country to reach the College World Series three times in the last four years...UCLA has earned back-to-back College World Series appearances for the first time in program history...David Berg became UCLA's all-time career saves leader tonight with his 22nd career save, passing Gabe Sollecito's 21 career saves from 1992-93...Nick Vander Tuig improved to 4-2 in the postseason and lowered his career postseason ERA to 2.12...this was the 15th time in 17 starts this year that Vander Tuig has pitched at least six innings...John Savage's teams are now 6-3 in the NCAA Super Regional round...this is the first time in program history that the Bruins have recorded two shutouts in the same postseason...UCLA is now 17-2 when it scores in the first inning and 38-5 when it scores more than three runs in a ballgame.