UCLA Tops Cal State Fullerton, 11-7
June 13, 2010
By Jonathan Raber
Special to NCAA.com
LOS ANGELES - Trevor Brown hasn't found himself in the lineup in too many occasions this season, but he prepared himself should his time arise.
It turns out the freshman catcher's time came on Saturday afternoon.
Brown's pinch-hit two-run single in the top of the 10th inning broke a tie and UCLA added two more runs in the inning to stave off elimination at least for one more day with a 11-7 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA Division I Baseball Super Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
"It's tough," said Brown of waiting in the dugout. "To get the opportunity to go in and help the team is always awesome."
The conclusion marked a wild affair that saw both teams battle back from deficits in the ninth, and now a decisive Game 3 will be played Sunday at 7 p.m. PDT, airing on ESPN.
"It seemed like the game was over a couple times, on both sides," UCLA coach John Savage said. "We were very fortunate to come out on top."
UCLA (47-14) loaded the bases in the 10th against Kevin Rath before Kyle Mertins came on. The right-hander surrendered Brown's hit through the left side that scored a pair.
He then watched as Casey Watkins dropped a routine fly ball in the outfield for what would have been the last out and instead plated two more runs and forced the Titans to regroup for a must-win situation.
"When we were 7-9 and scratching our heads wondering what was going on with the 2010 Titans, if I would have been able to look into a crystal ball and say that we would have one game to win to get to Omaha, I think they all would have agreed that that would be something they would want," Fullerton coach Dave Serrano said.
Tyler Rahmatulla saved UCLA, down 6-5 in the ninth with two outs, as he belted a two-run home run, a night after the Bruins were unable to come through in their final at-bats during a 4-3 loss.
Down to their last strikes, Rahmatulla worked a 3-1 count before depositing a Raymond Hernandez pitch deep over the fence in left-center field as he was mobbed at home plate by a swarm of teammates.
"I got into a hitter's count and got one pitch I could swing at and put a good swing on it," Rahmatulla said.
The Titans (46-17) refused to go quietly, staging their own set of dramatics in the bottom of the ninth.
With one out, pinch-hitter Walker Moore reached on an infield single and was replaced by Gary Brown, who was making his first appearance since breaking a finger on his left hand on May 16. Christian Colon followed with a walk, and with Richie Pedroza batting, the Titans executed a double steal. The throw down to third got away, allowing Brown to score the tying run and Colon to move to third.
Pedroza hit a sharp grounder to the drawn-in infield and Colon was caught in a run-down between third and home, but he stayed in it long enough to allow Pedroza to reach third. Matt Orloff hit a deep fly to left that appeared headed for a game-winning hit before it was run down for the final out to force extras.
The UCLA comeback came after it appeared that the Titans had swung the momentum in their favor with a four-run seventh, highlighted by Corey Jones' single for a 6-4 lead.
Cody Regis belted a pair of solo homers for the Bruins, including one in the eighth that got his team back within, 6-5.
UCLA Closer Dan Klein (6-0) worked the final two innings to pick up the win and take starter Trevor Bauer off the hook following an uncharacteristic performance. The sophomore right-hander entered the game with a 2.73 ERA but surrendered six runs on nine hits in seven innings.
It turned out it didn't matter as the Bruins had enough fire power late to stave off elimination.
"It's a credit to our offense and those guys staying with it and getting a few runs at the end," Savage said.