UCLA blanks Fullerton to reach College World Series
By TOM CONNOLLY
FULLERTON, Calif. — Nick Vander Tuig and three UCLA relievers combined to shutout Cal State Fullerton 3-0 to win the Fullerton super regional Saturday night and advance to the College World Series.
Vander Tuig (12-4) gave up seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. David Berg closed out the ninth and earned his 21st save of the season.
“I tried not to get ahead of myself and I let my defense work for me,” said Vander Tuig, a junior. “Fullerton has great hitters and my defense got me out of jams.
“It’s a lot easier to pitch when you get three runs in the first inning. I was just focusing making pitches.”
The Bruins (44-17) swept the series and will make their second consecutive trip to Omaha.
UCLA took advantage of two Titans errors in the first inning. Pat Gallagher had a two-run single with the bases loaded and Shane Zeile added an RBI hit off Thomas Eshelman (12-3) to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead. Eshelman pitched a complete game for Fullerton.
“We had some quality at bats and maybe Eshelman hadn’t been in that position before,” Gallagher said, referring to the Bruins’ first inning. “We kept dialing in and putting the ball in play and it worked.”
The Titans (51-10) dropped back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
“I couldn’t be any more prouder of our program and players,” said UCLA coach John Savage, who earned his 27th postseason victory to surpass Gary Adams as the all-time Bruins leader. “To beat Fullerton, the best team in the country . they are disciplined and I think we earned it.”
Fullerton had two runners on in both the second and fourth innings, but Vander Tuig retired Jake Jefferies to end both rallies. In the sixth, JD Davis led off with a double, but Vander Tuig got the next three Titans to end the threat.
Bruins reliever James Kaprielian got Matt Chapman to fly out with two on to end the seventh inning. Fullerton left 12 runners on base.
“We gave them some opportunities in the first inning and we made a few mistakes and they answered,” Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook said. “They put the pedal on us and that was about it. We didn’t cash in our opportunities.”
Anthony Hutting had three hits for Fullerton.
LOUISVILLE 5, VANDERBILT 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Matt Helms delivered a two-out, two-run pinch-hit single to lead Louisville to a 5-3 victory over No. 2 overall seed Vanderbilt in an NCAA super regional opener.
Helms had driven in only three runs all season. But with the bases loaded in the seventh, the senior stepped in and hit a 1-2 pitch from Vanderbilt closer Brian Miller down the third-base line.
The Cardinals (50-12) tied the game just three batters earlier. Zak Wasserman drove in his second run of the game with a two-out single. Louisville strung together three two-out hits and tagged Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek (11-3) for three runs in the inning.
Xavier Turner had two hits and scored two runs for the Commodores (54-11). Six of Vanderbilt’s seven hits came in the opening three innings.
Louisville, playing in its first super regional since 2009, tied a program-record for regular-season wins.
NORTH CAROLINA 6, SOUTH CAROLINA 5
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Freshman Skye Bolt hit a game-winning RBI single through the right side in the ninth inning to lift North Carolina past South Carolina in the opener of the super regional best-of-3 series.
Bolt’s two-out hit scored Parks Jordan from second for the Tar Heels (56-9), putting them within a win of reaching the College World Series for the sixth time in eight seasons. It was yet another close win for the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament as North Carolina shook off a shaky start from top pitcher Kent Emanuel and an early two-run deficit.
Reliever Trent Thornton (10-1) earned the win, allowing one run in three innings. Tyler Webb (3-3) took the loss for the Gamecocks (42-19).
The Tar Heels reached the super regionals with a 12-11, 13-inning win against Florida Atlantic on Monday night.
N.C. STATE 4, RICE 3
RALEIGH, N.C. — Jake Fincher’s two-out single in the bottom of the ninth capped a rally and lifted N.C. State to a victory over Rice in Game 1 of the Raleigh super regional.
Rice (44-19) had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth, but N.C. State (48-14) tied it when Brett Williams slid under a tag after a bunt by Logan Ratledge. Williams singled to start the inning, stole second, and went to third on an error by pitcher Zech Lemond.
Two batters later, Fincher’s single to left scored Jake Armstrong with the winning run.
Christian Stringer had doubled in the go-ahead run for Rice, pulling a ball down the left-field line to score pinch-runner John Williamson. Hunter Kopycinski had three hits, including the one that put Williamson on base.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 11, VIRGINIA 6
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Adam Frazier went 6 for 6, Hunter Renfroe was 4 for 5 and they each drove in three runs to help Mississippi State beat Virginia in the first game of the Charlottesville super regional.
The Bulldogs (47-18) pounded Virginia pitching for 20 hits and benefited from uncharachteristic sloppiness by the Cavaliers, who made four errors that led to six unearned runs.
Virginia (50-11) had 11 hits, but also hit into four rally-killing double plays.
Kendall Graveman (7-5) went 5 1-3 innings for the Bulldogs, allowing nine hits and all six runs, just four of them earned. He struck out three and walked two. Ross Mitchell finished, allowing just two hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings.
INDIANA 10, FLORIDA STATE 9
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Kyle Schwarber had a go-ahead two-run single in a four-run seventh inning and Indiana went on to beat Florida State in the first game of the Tallahassee super regional.
Schwarber, who also had a two-run homer in the fourth, put Indiana up 7-6 with his hit in the seventh.
Indiana (47-14) can advance to its first College World Series with a win on Sunday. If the Seminoles (47-16) win, a deciding game would be played Monday.
The Hoosiers’ big inning came against relievers Gage Smith (4-2) and Billy Strode, who gave up just three hits in the inning but the Seminoles committed two throwing errors.
John Nogowski’s two-run homer in the eighth trimmed Indiana’s lead to 10-8. DJ Stewart added an RBI single in the ninth, but Indiana’s Will Coursen-Carr induced a pair of flyouts to end the game.
Brian Korte (1-0) pitched one-third an inning.
LSU 11, OKLAHOMA 1
BATON ROUGE, La. — JaCoby Jones had four hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs to help LSU beat Oklahoma to advance to the College World Series for the 16th time.
LSU (57-9), which tied a single-season school record for victories, used four pitchers, who combined to limit the Sooners (43-21) to five hits and prevented Oklahoma from scoring after it had taken its only lead of the series, 1-0, in the bottom of the first inning.
Will LaMarche (3-0) got the win for the Tigers, who improved to 5-0 in the NCAA tournament.
Dillon Overton (9-3), Oakland’s second-round pick in this week’s Major League baseball draft, allowed four runs on seven hits before being lifted in the sixth inning.
KANSAS STATE 6, OREGON STATE 2
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Tanner Witt’s two-run single in the 10th inning capped a four-run rally and Kansas State beat Oregon State in the opening game of the Corvallis super regional.
The Wildcats (45-17) had seven hits over the final two innings and sent nine batters to the plate in the 10th. They pulled ahead when Jared King led off the inning with a bloop double into shallow left-center and Jon Davis brought him home with an RBI single. Two batters later, pinch hitter Mitch Meyer knocked a bases-loaded RBI single, and Witt broke the game open with a two-run single into right field.
With two outs and two strikes in the ninth, Ross Kivett doubled into the right field gap and reached third on an error, scoring when Witt followed with an RBI single that stunned the record crowd of 3,574 at Goss Stadium.
Jake Mattys (9-1) earned the win with two innings of relief.
Jace Fry (0-1) took the loss.
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