June 2, 2013
Bruins Headed Back to Supers
By Abbey Mastracco
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
UCLA won its second-straight Regional
Championship in dominating fashion Sunday night at Jackie
The top-seeded Bruins allowed just three
baserunners the entire game, one-hitting No. 3 San Diego in a
6-0 shutout. The win sends them into the Super Regional round
for the second straight year, becoming the first UCLA team to
ever go back-to-back in the Super Regionals.
“It was a difficult Regional,” UCLA coach John
Savage (pictured) said. “You had four good teams, all West Coast
teams, good players – a couple high draft [picks] – and I think
you’d have to say that our guys did their job and at the end of
the day it was really how we had to draw it up.”
San Diego (37-25) took a gamble with Max Homick
(5-2) in the Championship game, with head coach Rich Hill citing
the fact that the lefthander already was warm after having
closed out the elimination game against No. 2 Cal poly.
But Homick failed to make it out of the first
inning. He gave up four runs and got just one out, facing seven
Michael Wagner was effective, going the rest of
the way scattering two hits on four runs while striking out
four. But like Homick, command was an issue as Wagner issued
“Hindsight is 20-20,” Hill said. “We knew going
in that UCLA had six left-handed hitters. We knew Max Homick was
going to be in the game at some point, we thought that it was
going to be better while he was still warm.”
Homick had thrown just 16 pitches in the
elimination game, and Wagner had a history of struggling with
left-handed hitters. But Homick was hit right from the beginning
when Brian Carroll laid down a textbook bunt for a single.
“We wanted to go a couple times around the lineup
to get to Michael, who was going to be fresh,” Hill said. “We
really felt we had to use both guys and if Max had sat down and
then had to get warm again I don’t think he would have been that
Pat Valaika got the big hit of the inning,
driving in two when he sliced a single past Homick into
right-center. Homick then issued two straight hits and the
Bruins (42-17) plated another one on an infield single by Pat
After hitting Shane Zeile to load the bases,
Hornick was removed. But Cody Regis took a single off Wagner to
drive in another run for UCLA, giving the Bruins a 4-0 lead in
the first inning.
Meanwhile, Grant Watson was phenomenal. The
sophomore southpaw pitched seven innings of one-hit ball,
striking out five and walking one.
“I thought Grant was outstanding,” Savage said.
“I thought he pitched on both sides of the plate, I thought he
was in complete command of the game. High-confidence pitcher and
a guy that we’re certainly going to need in the postseason.”
Watson added: “Our offense helping us out, it
totally is nice getting four runs in the in the first,” Watson
Gallagher, the Bruins’ first baseman, went 1 for
2 with two RBI and finished the weekend hitting .555 with two
runs and four RBI and was selected Most Outstanding Player.
“It’s his time,” Savage said. “He’s a complete
team guy, I couldn’t be happier for him.”
UCLA had four other players named to the
all-tournament team: Shortstop Valaika, right fielder Eric Filia,
and pitchers Watson and Adam Plutko.
USD catcher Austin Green and second baseman
Austin Bailey also were named to the All-Tournament team.
Conspicuously absent was third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant, the
National Player of the Year and Division I home runs leader (31)
had a quiet weekend. While he found a way to reach base every
game, he had no extra-base hits and his only hits were infield
Sunday’s game was the last of his prolific career
as a Torero.
“I felt they were pitching me tough [all
weekend],” Bryant said. “I didn’t have the weekend I wanted to
and I didn’t really help my team the way I wanted to.
“We’ll see what happens in my future. I’m just
kind of at a loss for words right now.”
(photo courtesy of UCLA Media