Two more days left till Bruins play their next game in Omaha (with a spot in the championship series on the line). As mentioned last night John Savage's team is getting a lot of attention in the local and national traditional media, who are discovering that UCLA has a baseball program. I am still dumb founded by the fact that Orel Hershisher forgot about Tim Leary, considering Leary was one of the key starters in Dodgers rotation, who helped propelled that team to its last World Series Title.
Anyway, the LA Times apparently cared enough to send a special reporter - Shandel Richardson - not the usual bitter beat reporter Chris Foster to Omaha. Richardson wrote about how Bruin freshman Cody Regis has been adjusting to playing second base:
On Monday, Regis hit a two-run home run in the Bruins' 6-3 victory against Texas Christian at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Regis said he has spent most of his time in Omaha working with assistant coach Steve Pearse and Rahmatulla to make the adjustment easier.
"When Tyler went down it was a shock to us all," Regis said. "And basically, coach [ John Savage] called me, told me that I'd have to be ready to play second base. So the flight over here, the bus rides, everything, I've been working with Tyler and coach Pearse just getting ready to play second base."
Regis, who was replaced by Dean Espy at third base, is two for 10 with three runs batted in and no errors.
Hope Regis can keep up his steady play both at the plate and on defense rest of the way. It is amazing to think kids like Regis and Beau Amaral are just freshmen.
Speaking of clutch underclassmen, as noted by the official site, Gerrit Cole (along with Trevor Bauer) has become the talk of this college world series. His K numbers were impressive but what was impressive was how he responded to adversity in the seventh. From Kendall Rogers at Rivals.com:
"Cole was outstanding. To have a chance [to win] I knew we were going to have to pitch with him," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "Cole showed why he is an All-American after the seventh inning."
The seventh Schlossnagle refers to is the only time Cole played with fire. Cole appeared to be fine after six shutout innings. But after loading the bases and showing signs of fatigue, TCU's Taylor Featherston grooved a triple to center field that scored three runs and raised the partisan TCU crowd out of their seats.
Though a little tired, Cole stepped back on the mound with composure and struck out Aaron Schultz to end the seventh inning.
Cole went back out in the eighth and recorded two more strikeouts. He finished with 122 pitches and 13 strikeouts.
"That was very, very impressive," Savage said about rebounding from the seventh. "That's the thing he has shown this season, a ton of maturity. Everyone knows he is a guy with talent off the sheets, but the guy's mental game has gone to another level this season."
I should also add it was another underclassmen - Beau Amaral - who provided the spark for a key run at the bottom of the seventh, that really helped Cole and Bruins heading into the top of seventh.
David Ubber had more on Cole's pitching on ESPN:
"I thought I'd shown him the fastball and the slider and the cutter a little bit earlier," Cole said. "So I decided to go to the change. I threw it. It was just up in the zone. I don't know how good he hit it, but he hit it well enough so that we couldn't field it. And you gotta tip your cap. Three-two change, not many people can hammer that in the gap."
But with a hostile crowd around him and a game-changing hit behind him, Cole struck out TCU's Aaron Schultz to end the inning and quiet the crowd.
"We told him that the crowd would be a TCU crowd, and it was," Savage said. "I mean, it was loud. There was a ton of excitement, and he settled back in. ... Gerrit did about as well as you can do it in that situation."
While Bauer and Cole deservedly have gotten all the attention to date, Rob Rasmussen is still waiting in the wings. It was Rasmussen who got us from Regional to Super Regional, and then from Super Regional to Omaha.
Bruins will find out about their next opponent tonight when TCU takes on Florida State in the elimination game around 4 pm PST. We will put up an open thread for those who are tracking it.