June 12, 2010

Super Regional Scores, Schedules & Capsules


CBI Live
Bruins best Titans in contest worthy of Disneyland

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.


There are emotional roller-coasters, and then there are gravity-defying, height-requirement, probably-shouldn't-eat-before-you-ride emotional roller coasters.

In Game 2 of their Super Regional series on Saturday, UCLA avoided elimination by knocking off Cal State Fullerton 11-7 in a wild and electric game that took 10 innings to complete.

In the top of the tenth, the Bruins - playing as the visitors - got a two-out, two-run single from seldom-used Trevor Brown before a dropped fly ball by the Titans allowed two more runs to score.

"I was fortunate enough to get a good pitch and was lucky enough to get a good swing on it," Brown said. "The opportunity to help your team is awesome."

But what transpired in the tenth was nothing compared to the drama of the previous inning. With UCLA down to its final out against Titans reliever Raymond Hernandez, senior Blair Dunlap coaxed a walk and sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla cranked a 3-1 fastball for a two-run homer to give the Bruins a 7-6 lead.

"I take a lot of pride in making someone do something special," Fullerton coach Dave Serrano said of the pitch to Rahmatulla. "He did it. He did what good hitters do when they have count leverage."

"It didn't feel like we were down to the last out," UCLA coach John Savage said. "We've come back in many games. There just seemed to be a lot of belief from our dugout in Tyler coming through."

The jubilation in the UCLA dugout wouldn't last long, however. The Titans tied things up in the bottom of the ninth behind their two MLB first-round draft picks, Gary Brown and Christian Colon. The pair pulled off a double steal of second and third, and a UCLA error on the throw to third allowed Brown to score and Colon to move over to third. But Bruins closer Dan Klein retired the final two batters to strand him and send the game to extra innings.

It was stand-up, sit-down for the rival fans, as each side took turns thinking they had just pulled out the victory.

"Championship atmosphere, and lots of perseverance from our club," Savage said. "Seemed like the game was over multiple times on both sides. Just a hell of a baseball game."

Throughout most of the game, the only thing hellish for Savage was UCLA's execution in the clutch. The Bruins left a number of men in scoring position and squandered a number of prime opportunities. Still, they got two solo home runs from Cody Regis and one from Justin Uribe and had a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Apparently a good stretch and the playing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was just what the Titans needed to figure out UCLA starter Trevor Bauer. They struck for four runs to take a 6-4 lead that their bullpen wouldn't be able to hold.

"There's no excuses," Serrano said. "We should be more quality throughout the pitching staff to be able to get those stops."

The victory helps UCLA avoid elimination and sets up a Sunday rubber match between the two teams. The Bruins will start Rob Rasmussen, who won the finale of last weekend's Los Angeles regional, while the Titans will counter with Dylan Floro.

"We were lucky enough to come out on top," Savage said. "We live another day, and tomorrow is going to be another championship atmosphere."