June 6, 2010

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CBI Live
Regis Powers Bruins Past Anteaters for Regional Title

By Ryan Eshoff

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


Ryan Eshoff is a rising junior at UCLA, a native of San Jose, and has seen more of California than is recommended. He has been on the sports staff of the Daily Bruin newspaper his entire UCLA career, spending the last year as an assistant sports editor and preparing to become a senior writer. He has covered the entire breadth of Bruin sports and considers himself, for better or worse, the world's foremost expert on UCLA water polo. In his less than copious amounts of free time, Ryan fights the East Coast bias and roots rabidly for the San Jose Sharks, the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Dodgers while wishing there was an NBA franchise in the Bay Area.


LOS ANGELES - This weekend just might have been Cody Regis's coming-out party. It certainly was in the literal sense.


The freshman third baseman from UCLA capped a superb Los Angeles regional with a three-run home run in the eighth inning to help the Bruins pull away from UC Irvine for a 6-2 win and a regional victory.


"The ballgame was a tight ballgame," UCLA coach John Savage said. "Really the three-run homer was the difference."


Regis, who went 2 for 3 on Friday and homered on Saturday, came up with two men on and nobody out in the eighth inning and UCLA clinging to a 3-2 lead. After a discussion with hitting coach Rick Vanderhook before the at-bat, he belted the first pitch he saw from UC Irvine pitcher Matt Summers over the right-centerfield wall to seal the victory.


"(Vanderhook) came over to me, talked to me before the at-bat and said he was going to throw that first-pitch fastball," Regis said. "And I jumped on it."


Until Regis's blast, the story of the game was starting pitching, particularly that of UCLA. Junior Rob Rasmussen gave up two solo home runs but not much else in six quality innings. The Bruins put up three runs in the first three innings but were shut out for the subsequent four.


Rasmussen struck out seven and walked none in picking up his 10th victory of the year.


UC Irvine got a longball apiece from leftfielder Drew Hillman and designated hitter Jordan Leyland, but didn't muster much else against Rasmussen and the UCLA bullpen. It was a quick turnaround for the Anteaters after they defeated LSU earlier on Sunday.


"I think our guys really gave a good account of ourselves and really competed and played well," said UC Irvine coach Mike Gillespie, who added that he didn't feel his team showed any signs of fatigue against UCLA.


"I certainly didn't see (that they were tired) by the way they went about it," he said. "I think every guy played every pitch."


With the victory, UCLA advances to next weekend's Super Regional round, in which they will again be the host. The Bruins will play the winner of the Fullerton Region, which is down to Cal State Fullerton and Minnesota.


The Titans beat the Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium earlier this season, although UCLA has now won nine of 10 at home.


Sunday night's win was also historic for the UCLA program, which set a record for wins in a season with 46.


"It's quite an accomplishment," Savage said. "I think this team's on a mission, on a journey. I think we have the big picture ahead of us. These guys are focused at the task and know what the big goal is."


Savage acknowledge that he sees something different in this group of Bruins, something aside from their obvious strengths like patience at the plate and starting pitching.


"There's a sense of ownership, a sense of togetherness," he said. "There's chemistry. The guys really enjoy being around each other."


The Bruins' successful regular season is what ensured that no one would be leaving their home ballpark anytime soon. Not even Cody Regis.