UCLA Ends College World Series Run After 2-1, 11-Inning Loss To South Carolina

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June 29, 2010


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OMAHA, Neb. - UCLA's College World Series championship hopes were dashed when South Carolina won its first-ever NCAA baseball title with a 2-1, 11-inning victory in front of 24,390 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium. The win was South Carolina's second in the best-of-three series.

The Bruins finished the season 51-17, setting a school record in wins and making their first-ever appearance at the CWS Championship Series. South Carolina finished the year 54-16.

'I'm so proud of our players and our program and the strides we've made,' said UCLA head coach John Savage. 'I told the players that they've reached the pinnacle in college baseball. They've experienced the rigors of the Regionals and Super-Regionals and the bracket in playing for the national championship. Every player in our locker room now knows what it feels like.

'We can sit there and be very proud of our entire program. The bar has been raised, and we look to be back as soon as possible. This team can say they're the best team in UCLA history, which has a long and rich tradition. I'm proud of every single person who has been a part of this program.'

South Carolina scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th on an RBI single to right field by Whit Merrifield off Dan Klein (6-1). Scott Wingo led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Merrifield's walk-off hit.

UCLA broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning after an RBI single by Niko Gallego scored Trevor Brown, who had led off the inning with an infield single.

The Gamecocks forced extra innings by tying the game in the eighth. South Carolina scored the tying run when a ground ball by Bobby Haney went off first baseman Dean Espy's glove as he attempted to backhand, allowing pinch runner Robert Beary to score from second.

Both squads used clutch pitching to keep a clean sheet after four innings. UCLA put runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but South Carolina starter Michael Roth got out of the jam each time. Roth was helped with a pickoff in the first and a double play in the second.Bruin starter Rob Rasmussen got out of a bases loaded jam in the second by getting Evan Marzilli to fly out to center to end the inning. Rasmussen came up with some big strikeouts later in the game as well, striking out Adrian Morales to end the bottom of the fifth inning with runners and first and third and getting Marzilli looking with two outs and two runners on base in the sixth.

UCLA hit the ball well in the ninth inning, with Cody Regis and Brett Krill each flying out to the warning track. With two outs, Chris Giovinazzo extended the inning, reaching on an error, and Brown moved Giovinazzo to third with a single to shallow center. A walk to Steve Rodriguez loaded the bases, but Matt Price (5-1) struck out Gallego swinging to keep the game tied at 1-1.

'On behalf of UCLA and our baseball program, we'd like to congratulate South Carolina,' said Savage. 'They've earned the right to be called national champs. Coach Tanner and his staff certainly earned it. They're the last one standing. The national championship is supposed to be played like that. We came up short tonight, but we're very proud and look forward to the future.'

Game Notes: Freshman 2B Cody Regis, Freshman OF Beau Amaral and Sophomore P Trevor Bauer were named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team ... Reliever Dan Klein tied the school record for single-season appearances with 39, tying Bruce Baranick, who had 39 in 1972 ... Klein also pitched his longest outing of the season, going 3.1 innings. His previous high was 2.2 innings at Oregon State on Apr. 10, 2010 ... With this game, UCLA has played as many postseason games this year (12) as head coach John Savage has in his UCLA career prior to this season ... Beau Amaral finished the season with a .354 batting average, the highest by a UCLA freshman since Garret Atkins set the freshman single-season record by hitting .383 in 1998 ... Of UCLA's seven World Series losses in program history, four were in extra innings.

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