June 2, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif. - The top-seeded UCLA Baseball team won its seventh regional title, posting a 6-0 victory over third-seeded San Diego in the finals of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional on Sunday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Sophomore left-hander Grant Watson led the way, tossing seven shutout innings while allowing just one hit.
The Bruins will face the winner of the NCAA Fullerton Regional Finals between Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State in a best-of-three series next weekend. Game dates and site location will be announced Monday evening at 8 p.m. (PT). Tickets for next weekend's NCAA Super Regionals will be available through UCLA's Central Ticket Office beginning on Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT, regardless of the location of next weekend's games.
UCLA, which improved to 42-17 with the win, received a dominant effort on the mound from Watson, who improved to 8-3 on the year and pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one hit while striking out five batters. Watson also allowed just two base runners in his seven innings of work.
Junior Zack Weiss (eighth inning) and sophomore David Berg pitched the final two innings of hitless relief to combine with Watson for a one-hitter. Max Homick, who closed San Diego's 8-5 win over Cal Poly earlier in the day, got the start for USD and was credited with the loss, dropping to 5-2 on the year. He recorded only one out while giving up four earned runs on five hits with one walk and one strikeout. Michael Wagner came on in relief of Homick and pitched 7.2 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
The Bruins pounced on San Diego (37-25) early in the bottom of the first, when junior Brian Carroll got a lead-off bunt single to the pitcher. After sophomore Kevin Kramer struck out swinging, sophomore Eric Filia singled and advanced to second on a throwing error, which allowed Carroll to advance to third. Junior Pat Valaika then drove in Carroll and Filia with a single to left to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Junior Kevin Williams then singled to center field in the next at-bat, advancing Valaika to third, before junior Pat Gallagher made it four straight singles (to first base), advancing Williams to second and scoring Valaika for a 3-0 advantage.
After sophomore Shane Zeile drew a walk to load the bases, the Toreros pulled starting pitcher Max Homick and inserted Michael Wagner. Senior Cody Regis then gave the Bruins a 4-0 lead with a single through the right side, scoring Williams.
UCLA pushed its lead to 5-0 with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Bruins showed patience at the plate, drawing three straight walks by Filia, Valaika and Williams. Gallagher recorded his second RBI of the game with a sac fly to center field, scoring Filia.
The Bruins extended the lead to 6-0 by punching one across the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Kramer started the inning with a single up the middle, but was thrown out at second, trying to stretch it into a double. Filia then doubled to right field and later advanced to third when Valaika flied out to center field. Williams picked up his second hit and first RBI of the game with a two-out double to right field, scoring Filia, who crossed the plate for the third time in the game (tying a career-high).
Weiss and Berg took over from there and UCLA went on to sweep the NCAA Los Angeles Regional with a 6-0 shutout win over the Toreros.
The Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional was UCLA's Gallagher, a junior first baseman, who went 5-for-9 with two runs and four RBI in the Bruins' three victories. Joining Gallagher on the 11-man All-NCAA Los Angeles Regional Team from UCLA was shortstop Valaika, outfielder Filia and pitchers Adam Plutko and Watson. Cal Poly had three players on the All-Regional squad, including third baseman Jimmy Allen, outfielder Jordan Ellis and designated hitter Brian Mundell. Representing San Diego was catcher Austin Green and second baseman Austin Bailey. The lone San Diego State representative was outfielder Greg Allen.
Postseason Notes: This is UCLA's seventh regional title and the fifth since the new format was adopted in 1999...it is also the fourth regional title under head coach John Savage...UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history...the Bruins are also making their fourth NCAA Super Regional appearance in the last seven years...UCLA has swept each NCAA Regional in those four years (2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013)...UCLA is the only team from California and the Pac-12 Conference to have earned at least three NCAA Division I Super Regional appearances in the last four years...head coach John Savage is now 25-14 in six trips to the postseason as UCLA head coach...Savage's 25 postseason wins are also one shy of UCLA's all-time record (26, Gary Adams)...in six NCAA Regional appearances under Savage, the Bruins are 17-6...UCLA is now 15-3 in postseason games at Jackie Robinson Stadium since 2010.
Game Notes: The Bruins have won 42 or more games in a season for the sixth time in program history and for the third time in the last four years...Cody Regis tied Eric Valent (1996-98) for the most RBI in UCLA postseason history (20)...David Berg made his 10th career postseason appearance, extending the UCLA record for most postseason pitching appearances...this was the third postseason shutout of an opponent in program history (2012 vs. Creighton, 1992 vs. Yale) and the seventh shutout this season...Grant Watson, Zack Weiss and David Berg combined for the first UCLA one-hitter since Trevor Bauer one-hit USC on March 26, 2011...Pat Valaika has now reached base safely in his last 13 games...the Bruins improved to 16-2 when they score in the first inning and 32-1 when they hold their opponent to three runs or fewer.