June 1, 2013
Bruins Rally Past Mustangs
By Abbey Mastracco
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
LOS ANGELES —
It was almost as if two different games were
played between No. 2 Cal Poly and No. 1 UCLA, Saturday night at
Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Mustangs, who got to Bruins starter Nick
Vander Tuig early and often for a 4-0 lead, undoubtedly would
have won the first one.
But the game changed in the sixth inning and the
Bruins took control from there, erasing the deficit and then
some to complete a comeback and win 6-4 in their second game of
the Los Angeles Regional.
“Two storylines, really; they jumped on us the
first three innings – they mugged us basically,” UCLA coach John
Savage said. “They did a good job against Nick, and then the
game kind of turned.”
Cal Poly (40-18) was cruising, and starter Matt
Imhof was dealing through five innings. The big left-hander was
masterful, no-hitting the Bruins and facing just one above the
minimum with four strikeouts until the game came to a screeching
halt in the sixth.
Pat Gallagher started the sixth by lacing the
first pitch he saw down the left-field line for a double to
break up the no-hit bid. Imhof soon found himself in trouble
from there, giving up a single and a walk before Gallagher
scored on a fly ball to make the score 4-1.
Imhof faced one more batter and gave up an
infield single to Eric Filia before he was pulled in favor of
the closer, Reed Reilly. Reilly struck out Pat Valaika and
looked to be out of trouble with a routine fly ball.
But it was then that the game went awry for the
Right fielder Nick Torres lost track of the ball
in the lights, and it dropped a few feet in front of him at the
warning track. Kevin Williams was able to make it all the way
around to third easily for a bases-clearing triple to score
three and tie the game at 4.
“It wasn’t until the ball got down below the
lights that I saw it again and I was able to pick it up. By that
time it was just too late,” Torres said. “Feels like it always
seems to happen like that. Just for that one inning where the
lighting was really bad. We came out the next inning and of
course it was dark enough and we could see the ball clear.”
Imhof saw things a little different.
“They started picking me in like the fourth or
fifth. I was tipping my pitches I guess,” Imhof said. “In the
sixth it started becoming a little more routine. I think they
almost got every pitch in the sixth. I gave them enough of an
advantage that they were able to put some good swings on some
However, UCLA’s hitters argued otherwise.
“That would have been nice,” Williams said. “But
we didn’t have any tipped pitches or any verbals or anything,
(we) just tried to compete at the plate.”
Vander Tuig (11-4), who was shaky at best through
four, was able to recover, settling down to retire three of four
in his final inning, becoming the pitcher of record and
ultimately earning the win.
“Cal Poly battled me pretty well,” Vander Tuig
said. “They were aggressive early, exactly what the scouting
report said. I made some mistakes early and they hit them. I
gave them all I had for six innings.”
Reilly (2-4) took the loss for Cal Poly.
The win guarantees UCLA (41-17) a spot in the
championship game for the second straight year. The Bruins again
will play in the 6 p.m. game, facing the winner of tomorrow’s 2
p.m., game between Cal Poly and No. 3 San Diego.