June 9, 2012
Around the Super Regionals
Super Regional Scores & Capsules
Super Regional Notes
UCLA grinds past TCU, advances
to College World Series
By Abbey Mastracco
ANGELES — The No. 2 national-seeded
UCLA Bruins played with a quiet confidence about them Saturday
night against TCU. Although not over, it was as if there was
never a doubt in any of their minds that they would top the
Horned Frogs to make their second trip to Omaha in three years
and their fourth time in program history.
The Bruins used that confidence to take a 4-1 win
over TCU in front of a crowd of 2,135 at Jackie Robinson Stadium
to punch that ticket and take that trip that every team dreams
of taking. For the 2012 UCLA club it’s a trip that many
detractors thought the team would not make after losing their
key players from 2010’s run, including first-round talents
Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole.
has a new identity,” said UCLA head coach John Savage (left).
“We’re going into Omaha with ‘Bruins’ on our chest but with a
little different roster.”
Devoid of the big hits and the theatrics that
usually punctuate the NCAA Baseball Tournament, UCLA (40-22)
played simple Saturday night against TCU (47-14). Playing to a
“Grind for Nine” mantra, the Bruins capitalized on nearly every
opportunity. UCLA manufactured each of their four runs by simply
moving men around the bases instead of waiting for a big hit.
“This was a difficult game for us,” Savage said.
“We just chipped away, we didn’t blow anyone out.”
In the second inning, Trevor Brown went the other
way with a one-out, opposite field triple and then was driven
home on a sac fly by Pat Valaika. UCLA then played small ball in
the third with a safety squeeze and plated one in the sixth to
take a 3-1 lead when Cody Regis advanced on a passed ball.
“We’re pretty good at those things too,”
Schlossnagle said. “They just didn’t give us too many
Nick Vander Tuig (10-3) gave up just one earned
run, a solo shot to left field by Brance Rivera in the bottom of
the third. Vander Tuig, who last week carried a no-hitter into
the seventh inning during UCLA’s Regional win over New Mexico,
gave up five hits over six innings, striking out five and
walking just one, which was the last batter he faced.
“The game kind of sped up on me a little bit in
the beginning,” Vander Tuig said. “Later on in the game, I kind
of settled down and started making better pitches.”
Berg (left) then came in and fooled the Horned Frogs hitters for
the second night in a row. Berg worked three innings, getting
the bats swinging with his devastating breaking pitches.
“It was my most difficult decision of the
season,” Savage said, of the decision to not throw closer Scott
Griggs, who has saved 15 of UCLA’s games this season. “I played
the hot hand with Berg, they weren’t picking him up. My deepest
sorrow would be not letting Griggs in the game at that time.
“He’s one of our captains, and I played the hot
hand with David and he did what he needed to do.”
The Horned Frogs managed two hits off Berg, but
“They controlled the zone real well,” Rivera
said. “We were grinding all day, we just didn’t seem to get the
hits when we needed them.”
“We scored three runs in the [Super] Regional,
all three of them solo homers,” Schlossnagle said. “We tell our
pitching staff every day that solo homers don’t beat you.”
Coming into this weekend in Los Angeles, the
story for both teams was the “rivalry” the two had formed
competing against one another in the 2010 College World Series.
The story ended for TCU and its stellar class that brought the
program into national prominence Saturday night. But for UCLA,
the story will continue next week at TD Ameritrade Park.
“This team has found their way to Omaha,” Savage
said. “It never gets old. It’s the epitome of college baseball.”
(photos courtesy of UCLA Athletics)