OK, Bruin baseball fans, take a deep breath. That’s it. Let all the anxiety and angst from last night’s game flow out of you. I know I have.
After one the craziest, sloppiest college baseball game in recent memory, the UCLA Bruins baseball team (52-10) forced a deciding game three of the Los Angeles Super Regional tonight. The Bruins outlasted the Michigan Wolverines (45-20) by the score of 5-4 in twelve innings over five hours and one minute late last night. UCLA fans across the nation breathed a sign of relief and, after a disjointed performance, some wondered how this team was able to win 52 games this season or earn the top seed in the postseason.
Gifted with ten walks and five errors, the Bruins barely escaped, stranding 15 runners on base in the process. Although UCLA looked nothing like the number one overall seed in the tournament last night, they still managed to eek out a victory. Great teams are able to find ways to win, even when they are not at their best.
Contrary to how this team has played all season, the base-running last night was poor and that is on UCLA’s first and third base coaches. The approach at the plate, while not as bad as it was on Friday night in my opinion, was also poor and that is on hitting coach Rex Peters. I will say that the home plate ump did the hitters on both sides no favors with a strike zone that was incredibly inconsistent last night.
Although Head Coach John Savage is ultimately in charge of the whole outfit, he is a pitching guru and he did an excellent job with the staff last night. Coach Savage delegates the offensive side of things to Peters, as well as base coaches Niko Gallego and Bryan Walters. I think it’s fair to say that Coach Savage expects better from his offensive staff and those three that I mentioned need to have the players better prepared tonight and do better job with the in-game coaching. I’m confident that they will.
Despite the warts, UCLA prevailed and, ultimately, that is all that matters. I don’t want to relive all of the specific drama here but, if you missed the game or if you otherwise want to get the down and dirty details, check out BN’s postgame wrap-up.
Today is a new day. And nothing that happened yesterday really matters at this point. So, let’s turn the page and talk about today’s game.
Although the UCLA series’ notes on the official site list the Bruins’ pitcher for today as TBA, Coach Savage confirmed in his post-game press conference last night that freshman Nick Nastrini will get the start for the Bruins. Nastrini pitched a few innings early in the year, but then missed the bulk of the season with thoracic outlet syndrome.
Unexpectedly, Nastrini came back last Sunday and threw a great game against Loyola Marymount, tossing five innings while allowing just four hits and one run and striking out seven to earn the first victory of his college career. He did all of that under the pressure of a must-win game. The big righty, who has only thrown 15.2 innings all season, will start for the Bruins once again in a must-win situation, this time with a berth in the College World Series on the line.
Tommy Henry (9-5, 3.61 ERA), who beat UCLA in March in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic, is listed to start for Michigan. It has been reported, however, that Henry is suffering from a virus. So, who knows who will take the hill for the Wolverines?
UCLA’s bullpen is in better shape than Michigan’s, as Wolverine Head Coach Erik Bakich had to use six pitchers last night, as opposed to the three used by UCLA.
Get ready. It should be interesting tonight.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Michigan Wolverines NCAA LA Super Regional Game Three open thread.
Go Bruins!!! Bring home 119!!!