June 25, 2013
UCLA 8, Mississippi State 0
Parents, Family Help Mold Head Coach John Savage
Photo Gallery by Craig Jackson
Championship Series Game 2
USC Factors into
By Sean Ryan
(photo by Sean Ryan)
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
Pitching clearly was the main ingredient in
UCLA’s run through Omaha: the Bruins finished with a 0.80 ERA at
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
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
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.