June 1, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif. - The top-seeded UCLA Baseball team advanced to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional Final with a 6-4 comeback victory over No. 2 seed Cal Poly on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Sophomore Eric Filia led the Bruins with two hits and drove in the eventual game-winning RBI in the top of the seventh inning.
UCLA (41-17) trailed 4-0 through four innings as the designated visiting team. Cal Poly starting pitcher Matt Imhof held the Bruins hitless through the first five innings. But the Bruins got to him in the sixth, scoring four runs on three hits to tie the game.
Junior Nick Vander Tuig earned the win for UCLA, pitching six innings and allowing four runs on nine hits to improve to 11-4 on the year. Vander Tuig also recorded three strikeouts while surrendering three walks. Mustang closer Reed Reilly was charged with the loss (2-4), giving up two runs on three hits in the seventh. He finished with two innings of work, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out two and walking two. Imhof finished with 5.1 innings of work and struck out five with one walk, allowing four runs on three hits.
Freshman James Kaprielian struck out four in two hitless innings of work for UCLA. Sophomore David Berg closed the door in the ninth to earn his 20th save of the season, extending his single-season school record.
Cal Poly (40-18) struck early in the bottom of the first, starting when senior Denver Chavez got a lead-off single up the middle. Sophomore Jordan Ellis followed with a single through the left side to move Chavez to third. Ellis would later advance to second on a wild pitch. Sophomore Nick Torres then scored Chavez on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0, and then with two down, junior Jimmy Allen doubled down the left field line to score Ellis and make it 2-0. Junior David Armendariz grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Mustangs would extend their lead to 3-0, tacking on another run in the bottom of the third inning. Mundell would start things off with a single up the middle. Torres would then draw a walk, advancing Mundell to second. After Allen's failed bunt attempt popped up to the catcher, Armendariz would single to left field, scoring Mundell, and advancing Torres to second. Torres would later advance to third after senior Elliot Stewart flied out to center. Freshman John Schuknecht would draw a two-out walk to load the bases, but Cal Poly would strand three runners as Vander Tuig got Peter Van Gansen to fly out to right field.
Chavez opened the bottom of the fourth inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch that struck out Ellis. Mundell would then ground out to the pitcher, but Torres would get his second RBI of the game with a two-out single to left field, scoring Chavez to put Cal Poly up 4-0.
The Bruins battled back in the top of the sixth inning with four runs to tie it at 4-4. Junior Pat Gallagher started things off with a double to left field before junior Brenton Allen singled through the left side, advancing Gallagher to third. Junior Brian Carroll was hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Sophomore Kevin Kramer drove in UCLA's first run on a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Gallagher. Filia singled to second base to load the bases with one out. Cal Poly turned to its closer in Reilly. He immediately looked to calm things down, striking out junior Pat Valaika, for the second out of the inning. But designated hitter, junior Kevin Williams, tied it at 4-4 with a two-out triple, scoring Filia, Carroll and Allen.
UCLA would take a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh. Senior Cody Regis led things off with a single through the right side before Gallagher dropped a nice bunt to move Regis over to second. After Allen drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, Carroll loaded the bases with a bunt for a single. Reilly looked like he was going to get out of the inning after striking out Kramer for the second out of the frame, but Filia singled to short, scoring Regis to make it 5-4 Bruins. Still with the bases loaded and two outs, Valaika walked on five pitches to record his first RBI of the game, scoring Allen.
Kaprielian set down all six of the batters he face in the seventh and eighth inning before Berg closed the door in the ninth to seal the 6-4 win.
The Bruins will await the winner of the 2 p.m. game on Sunday, June 2, which will feature #3 San Diego vs. #2 Cal Poly. The Regional Final game will start at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Game Notes: Tonight's four-run deficit is the largest the Bruins' have overcome to win a game this season (the previous high was three, accomplished in a 6-4 win at another Big West foe, UC Irvine on April 16; and again in a 7-6 win at USC on May 18)...John Savage improved to 24-14 in the postseason as UCLA's head coach...Nick Vander Tuig moved into a tie for fifth with Dave Schmidt (1977-79) on UCLA's all-time career wins list, winning career game number 24 tonight...this was also the 14th time in 16 starts this year that Vander Tuig has pitched at least six innings...David Berg has tied Gabe Sollecito (1992-93) for the most career saves in UCLA history, notching his 21st career save tonight...Berg has also passed Sollecito for the most saves in UCLA postseason history (3)...since 2010, UCLA is 14-3 in postseason games at Jackie Robinson Stadium...the Bruins are now 35-5 when scoring three or more runs in a ballgame this year.