June 11, 2010

Super Regional Scores, Schedules & Capsules


CBI Live
Missed opportunities by Bruins lead to Titans' victory

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 - The biggest throw by a pitcher in Friday night's opener of the Los Angeles Super Regional wasn't even to home plate.

Cal State Fullerton closer Nick Ramirez picked UCLA's Blair Dunlap off first with runners at the corners and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth to help the Titans preserve a 4-3 lead and take the first game of their Super Regional series.

"I just had a feeling that they were going to try and create something like that," said Fullerton coach Dave Serrano, who admitted that his experience with current UCLA and former Fullerton hitting coach Rick Vanderhook led him to believe the Bruins would be aggressive.

The Bruins went down quietly after the pickoff; Ramirez struck out Tyler Rahmatulla and induced a game-ending groundout from pinch-hitter Chris Giovinazzo.

It was an evening of missed opportunities in the late innings for UCLA, which loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh but failed to score.

"I was speechless for a minute with the ninth inning transpired, and how we got out of it to win the game," Serrano said. "I'm proud of this team, because even though we made mistakes, they stayed strong, they showed toughness, they found a way to get it done."

Despite Nick Ramirez's ninth-inning heroics, he wasn't the best Ramirez to pitch for the Titans on Friday. Sophomore Noe Ramirez got the start and was dominant after giving up a first-inning run. The right-hander went seven-plus, yielding just six hits and striking out 13. He did it with a dazzling array of fastballs and off-speed stuff.

"That second inning when I came out, I had more control and I felt a lot more comfortable," Ramirez said. "The changeup felt great off my hand, it was my best pitch tonight."

Ramirez got the better of his UCLA counterpart Gerrit Cole, who went 6.2 innings and gave up all four of the Titans' runs.

"I didn't jump ahead of them like I should have," Cole said. "Good hitters are going to punish you."

One of those hitters was Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon (right), who homered off the left-field foul pole in the fifth and also made a leaping catch of a line drive to end the Bruins' rally in the seventh.

Despite the loss and the missed opportunities, UCLA remained relatively upbeat.

"It's all about being positive," Bruins coach John Savage said. "We have to move on, we have to come out tomorrow, that's why they call it best two out of three."

UCLA will start Trevor Bauer, who was dominant in last weekend's regional performance against LSU. The Titans will counter with Daniel Renken. Saturday will mark the first elimination game of the season for the Bruins.

"We're not going to change a whole lot," Savage said.  "It's a tough loss, but we'll bounce back tomorrow."


(photo by Matt Brown)