June 25, 2013

CBI Live: UCLA 8, Mississippi State 0

Parents, Family Help Mold Head Coach John Savage

Photo Gallery by Craig Jackson


CWS Championship Series Game 2

USC Factors into UCLA Title

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

sean@collegebaseballinsider.com @collbaseball

(photo by Sean Ryan)


OMAHA, Neb. – UCLA coach John Savage’s emotions nearly got the best of him when he was asked about the impact UC Irvine coach Mike Gillespie has had on him – Gillespie hired Savage as an assistant when he was the coach at USC, and the pair won a national title together in 1998.


“I can’t say enough for what Coach Gillespie’s done for me and my family,” Savage said, holding back tears and pausing for nearly 10 seconds. “He’s the reason why I’m here…Mike hired me in 1997 and it changed my entire life.”


Savage noted that on Monday, he looked back and noticed that USC’s record in that championship season was 49-17. The Bruins entered Tuesday with a 48-17 record.


“I looked at the record yesterday, and I had a good feeling that, we’re going to end up with the same number of wins and the same number of losses. I knew the game wasn’t going to be 21-14. But at the same time, I owe my entire career to Coach Gillespie.”




Pitching clearly was the main ingredient in UCLA’s run through Omaha: the Bruins finished with a 0.80 ERA at the CWS.


Tuesday starter Nick Vander Tuig (14-4) was brilliant again, tossing eight scoreless innings.


“When he got in trouble, he pitched out of problems,” Savage said. “He had runners on first and second and nobody out, he had runners on first and third with one out. Phenomenal, the guy just made clutch pitches. We needed a strikeout, you got a strikeout. We needed a popup, you got a popup. I just can’t say enough about the job Nick’s done all year. To get 14 wins at this level says a lot about his ability.”


Vander Tuig and Adam Plutko each finished 2-0 at the College World Series. 


“Nick Vander Tuig and Adam were as good as there is in the country,” Savage said. “I’ll put those guys up against any 1-2 in the country. I said that all along, no one really believed me.”




Bruins leadoff man Brian Carroll was a fly in the ointment for the Bulldogs.


In Game 1, Carroll walked twice, was hit by a pitch and stole two bases. He also reached base on a sacrifice bunt in the third that Mississippi State catcher Nick Ammirati threw away in a key play in the two-run inning.


In Game 2, he was hit by two more pitches – including one to start the game that he later scored on – and added a walk, a single and three runs.


“That’s my job, it doesn’t matter how I do it, just find a way to get on base and let the big boys behind me drive me in,” Carroll said. “We execute, we move guys around, we get on base in different ways. It doesn’t matter. That’s our offense. That’s Bruin baseball.”




UCLA hit .227, and its 19 runs were the fewest for a College World Series champion. The Bruins were the first team to win the national title without hitting a homer since Ohio State in 1966.




The crowd of 27,127 was a record at TD Ameritrade Park, and overall, 343,483 fans (another record) turned out for the 14 games of the College World Series.




Plutko was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Joining him from UCLA on the all-tourney team were Vander Tuig, shortstop Pat Valaika and outfielder Eric Filia. The Bulldogs were represented by Wes Rea (1B), Brett Pirtle (2B), Hunter Renfroe (OF) and Trey Porter (DH). Rounding out the team: Brian Holberton (UNC, C), Colin Moran (UNC, 3B) and Michael Conforto (Oregon State, OF).




UCLA continued the Pac 12’s recent surge in Omaha. Since 2006, Pac 12 teams have won the College World Series four times: Oregon State in 2006 and 2007, Arizona in 2012 and now the Bruins. The SEC has won three titles since 2006, and Fresno State won in 2008.




Bruins closer David Berg made his 51st appearance of the season, tying Florida’s Connor Falkenbach for the single-season NCAA record. The sidearmer has appeared in 17 straight postseason games for UCLA.




The eight-run win in the final game was the largest margin since 2003, when Rice beat Stanford 14-2. There has been one other 8-0 deciding game – Skip Bertman’s 1993 LSU squad beat Wichita State 8-0.




Mississippi State came up short in its bid to win the first national title in any sport in the school’s history. The Bulldogs lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 10-11 (Ole Miss) and finished 3-2 in their ninth College World Series appearance.


“I think the accomplishment part will come later just because it’s so incredibly disappointing to end your season the way we did today. I’m really proud of our kids. They did a great job this year.”


“You gotta knock on the door and find a way to get back here, just like UCLA did. It took several tries before they could win the whole thing. I think we have a pretty good formula, a pretty good recipe for success. I think we’ll be back and have a chance to get back to this point.”




Bulldogs right fielder Hunter Renfroe wowed the CWS audience with his arm in the first inning, throwing Pat Valaika out at third on Pat Gallagher’s single. As the game wore on, he also nearly threw a runner out at the plate on Filia’s late two-run single.