I wrote yesterday about how the Bruins had to win their first tourney game in order to take the next step in Coach Savage's ongoing rebuilding project with UCLA baseball. Well they did it. Thanks to Tyson Brummet Bruins took that next step to stay on cours to become one of the better programs in college baseball and also a possible trip to Omaha.
Brummet, the Bruin ace returned to form last night. He struggled in his last couple of outings. But he got hot just in time almost pitching the first shutout in UCLA baseball's tourney history since 1962. From the LAT's Peter Yoon:
He came close to making UCLA baseball history but ended up two outs short. Although close won't net any prizes at the fairgrounds, it was good enough Friday in baseball.
On target for UCLA's first postseason shutout since 1962 through eight innings, Brummett had to be pulled in the ninth but still recorded the Bruins' 7-3 victory over Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA regionals at Blair Field in Long Beach.
UCLA (31-26) plays Illinois Chicago in the second round tonight at 7. Pepperdine (35-21) plays Long Beach State at 3 p.m. in an elimination game.
Brummett gave up only four hits through eight innings, but the Waves got to him for five hits and three runs in the ninth before he gave way with the bases loaded. Tim Murphy needed only one pitch to close it out when he got Donald Brown to pop out to third base for his second save of the season.
"You always want to finish what you started, but I was able to hand it off to Murph and get the win," said Brummett, who struck out six, walked one and improved to 10-5.
Brummett had pinpoint control of his fastball, throwing first-pitch strikes to 29 of the 38 batters he faced and going to 0-2 counts on 13 of them. Through six innings he had a one-hitter and no Pepperdine runner had advanced past first base.
The Bruins got off to a running start, scoring three runs in the first inning off Decker's bomb to the left. With one out and two on, Decker stepped up to the plate and hit a moon shot over the left-field wall.
"He started me off with a slider and he threw it again a little bit later and I was just looking to see the ball deep," Decker said. "I was able to turn on it and hit it out."
Again I can't say it enough. If you are in Southland, please head out to Long Beach State and get behind our kids. I mean check Rye out. The kid was blogging away until it became time to pick up his prom date! Surely everyone else can follow his example on how to get behind our kids.
These Bruins from all accounts sound like great bunch of kids who have bought into Savage's program and are making our four letters proud. Go out there and make them feel home and let's hope that little extra boost from the crowd will give them that extra edge so that they can keep taking that next step and end up in the baseball stadium at Omaha.