June 25, 2013
Parents, Family Help Mold Head Coach John Savage
Photo Gallery by Craig Jackson
Bruins Add Baseball Crown to
claims first national title in baseball
By Sean Ryan
(photo by Sean Ryan)
– The first day of offseason weightlifting, UCLA baseball
players gathered in front of a board in the weight room that
displays the 108 NCAA national titles the Bruins have won in
Baseball was nowhere to be found. A message was
sent to the baseball Bruins right then and there.
“We’ve got to get our name on that board,” UCLA
pitcher Nick Vander Tuig said.
The Bruins did just that Tuesday night on college
baseball’s grandest stage.
Vander Tuig turned in eight scoreless innings,
and UCLA, led by Eric Filia’s five RBI, methodically beat down
Mississippi State 8-0 as the Bruins claimed their first national
title in baseball at the College World Series before a
record-crowd of 27,127 at TD Ameritrade Park.
UCLA (49-17) swept the Bulldogs (51-20) in the
best-of-three Championship Series, adding to the school’s
impressive national championship haul and capping a 10-0
postseason run. Along the way, the Bruins swept through San
Diego State, Cal Poly and San Diego in the Los Angeles Regional,
swept No. 3 Cal State Fullerton in the Super Regionals and beat
No. 1 LSU, No. 8 NC State, No. 4 North Carolina and No. 13
“At the end of the day, I think we earned the
right to be called national champions,” Bruins coach John Savage
said on the field moments after his squad was presented the
national championship trophy.
Vander Tuig (14-4) did what he and fellow
starters Adam Plutko, the College World Series Most Outstanding
Player, and Grant Watson have done their entire stay in Omaha:
consistently put up zeroes. In five games in Omaha, Bruins
starters worked 34 innings with 21 hits and three earned runs.
Vander Tuig, a junior righthander who had Tommy
John surgery his senior year in high school, was brilliant,
allowing five hits and one walk and striking out six in
mystifying a Bulldogs team that had been shut out only once all
season. In 15 College World Series innings, he allowed nine hits
and one earned run with 12 strikeouts.
In all, the Bruins left cavernous TD Ameritrade
Park with a 0.80 ERA in five wins.
“They did a good job changing speeds and getting
them up and down in the zone, and we weren’t disciplined at the
plate,” Bulldogs shortstop Adam Frazier said. “Hats off to them
for getting the job done and winning two games for a national
UCLA’s oft-maligned but opportunistic offense,
which finished the season with a .247 average after hitting .227
here, made things easy for Vander Tuig.
Brian Carroll was hit by a pitch to open the
game, and Kevin Kramer’s sacrifice bunt was bobbled by starter
Luis Pollorena (6-4) before his throw was mishandled by first
baseman Wes Rea, allowing Carroll to scurry to third. Filia, who
had two RBI in Game 1 of the title series, plated Carroll with a
sacrifice fly for the first of his five RBI.
UCLA then added two more in the third when
Filia’s safety squeeze with one out scored Carroll, and Pat
Valaika followed with a RBI single to score Kramer.
In the fifth, Kevin Williams was hit by a pitch,
moved up on a sacrifice bunt and came home on Cody Regis’
bouncer up the middle for a 4-0 lead. Later in the inning,
Kramer (2 for 2) added a sacrifice fly to score Regis (2 for 4,
2 runs). Filia added an RBI single in the sixth inning and a
two-run single in the eighth as UCLA matched its run output from
its first three wins in Omaha – it marked the first time since
May 12 that the Bruins had scored eight or more runs.
“It’s a collective effort,” Plutko said on the TD
Ameritrade Park turf. “It was never about one superstar. It was
about all of us.”
Added Carroll, who scored three runs: “We have a
saying: It’s not the best team, it’s the team that plays the
Over two games, Mississippi State couldn’t string
anything together, scoring one run against UCLA. Like the
Bruins, the Bulldogs won on the road in the Super Regionals
(Virginia) and went unbeaten in Omaha (with two wins over Oregon
State and one over Indiana) to reach the title series.
“Five years ago, we inherited a club that won 23
ballgames,” Bulldogs coach John Cohen said. “They climbed all
the way to the top, and we didn’t finish the deal. And that’s
disappointing. But certainly I’m proud of my players.”
UCLA was in a similar position in 2010, reaching
the championship series, only to fall in two games to South
Carolina in the final College World Series at Rosenblatt
And now, they leave with that elusive national
title. A title that will be celebrated along with the other 108.
“They did it on the field,” Savage said. “I don’t
think any of the experts thought we would be here at this stage,
and we did it the right way. We played baseball. We played good