June 13, 2010
Scores, Schedules & Capsules
Redemption by Rasmussen
propels UCLA to Omaha
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 - Just more than two years
ago, a young freshman left-hander was on the mound when UCLA was
eliminated by Cal State Fullerton in the regional round.
Rob Rasmussen wasn't about to let that happen again.
Now a savvy junior, Rasmussen pitched a masterful complete game
on an even grander stage Sunday night to lead UCLA to an 8-1
Super Regional victory over the Titans and send the Bruins to
Omaha to the College World Series for the first time since 1997.
"Once we made that comeback yesterday, I was like 'Please, for
Fullerton's sake, don't give me the ball,'" Rasmussen said. "I
want this. I was a little tentative early and just tried to
attack them after that."
The first batter Rasmussen faced - Fullerton star Christian
Colon - singled and came around to score. Tyler Pill led off the
fourth with a single, and that was it. Rasmussen struck out nine
in recording his 11th win. The win came exactly a week after the
junior pitched UCLA to a regional-clinching win over UC Irvine.
"You just can't say enough about how [Rasmussen pitched]," UCLA
coach John Savage said. "He made [the first inning] a quiet
inning and then just had complete control the rest of the
For the second consecutive night, a Fullerton outfielder made a
critical drop of a fly ball hit by UCLA second baseman Tyler
Rahmatulla. This time, centerfielder Joey Siddons misplayed a
long, line drive hit by Rahmatulla with two outs in the third
frame, a gaffe that allowed two runs to score and gave the
Bruins a 3-1 lead that Rasmussen wouldn't come close to
"He had that chip on his shoulder, that he wanted to do
something," Colon said. "He wanted to make sure our offense was
quiet, and he was able to do that."
UCLA will advance to the College World Series and will face
Florida in its first game next weekend.
The loss concludes a season that saw the Titans start out 7-9
before catching fire late and going into the postseason playing
their best ball of the year. Fullerton ran into a UCLA team that
wasn't ready to wake up from its dream season.
"There was a script written for this team, and unfortunately it
wasn't what we hoped it was going to be," Fullerton coach Dave
On this night, the script featured one star in particular.
Facing a lineup that featured left-handers in the three, four
and five spots, Rasmussen showcased pinpoint command and a
devastating breaking ball.
Meanwhile, the Bruins offense grew more potent as the night
progressed, as they scored two in the sixth, one in the seventh
and got a two-run home run from centerfielder Beau Amaral in the
bottom of the eighth that sealed the deal.
"Whoever went out there and threw the first punch was probably
going to come out on top," Amaral said. "Being able to score
runs late in the game really helped us finish it off."
All that was left was for Rasmussen to finish what he started -
not only Sunday night, but going back to June of 2008.
"I want this really bad, because of what they did two years
ago," Rasmussen said. "It was unbelievable."
"He was in complete control," Savage added. "About the third or
fourth inning, I knew it was going to be a special evening."