June 28, 2010

Championship Series Game 1 Recap: South Carolina 7, UCLA 1

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UCLA Stumbles from Start

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

(Photo by Craig Jackson)


OMAHA, Neb. – Early on, it was obvious it was going to be that kind of night for both South Carolina and UCLA.


South Carolina scratched two runs across in the first inning on a bunt, a bloop, a check swing and an error. From there, pretty much everything seemed to go right for the Gamecocks. And pretty much everything went wrong for the Bruins.


“Well, it was clearly South Carolina’s night,” UCLA coach John Savage said. “It just seemed like we got off to a rough start.”


With two outs in the first, Jackie Bradley Jr. surprised everyone with a drag bunt down the third-base line. Christian Walker followed with a bloop hit to center, and Bradley came around to score on a check-swing single by Brady Thomas. Adrian Morales then bounced a grounder to second, where Cody Regis misplayed it for another run.


When the first inning was over, Bruins star Gerrit Cole (pictured) had thrown 24 pitches, 17 for strikes, and was down 2-0.


“Early in the game, we didn’t barrel a lot of balls up,” Walker said.


In fact, after four innings, the Gamecocks had eight hits off Cole, with only two really being squared up. Cole, who entered allowing opponents to hit .194 and with 151 strikeouts in 116 innings, ended up allowing 11 hits in seven innings. The right-hander, who was dealing fastballs in the mid-90s, didn’t strike out his first batter until the sixth inning and finished with two. And only twice in 18 previous starts had Cole allowed more than eight hits.


“They had a great approach,” Cole said. “I don’t know what the approach was…whatever it was, it worked…A night like tonight with a line like this, I mean, sometimes you gotta kind of beat yourself up about it. But they did a great job.”


And UCLA made it a bit easier.


In the first three innings, when the Gamecocks opened up a 5-0 lead, the Bruins committed two errors, which both came back to haunt them, and could have been charged for two more. One could have come on an overthrow of the catcher by center fielder Beau Amaral that ended up as a 1-2, pitcher-to-catcher putout at the plate, and another could have been Walker’s jam-job bloop toward first, where Justin Uribe lunged but couldn’t scoop an infield single.


“It was clearly their night from the get-go,” Savage said. “They deserved to win the game. They dominated us I think in every phase, really.”