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For the second straight year, the No. 1 overall seed couldn’t make it out of the NCAA Regionals.
This year, UCLA baseball was the one that fell, following Oregon State as the second straight tournament favorite to bow out early. In an elimination game against Maryland, the Bruins couldn’t scratch together enough offense in a 2-1 loss.
Afterward, head coach John Savage sat at the press conference table next to senior closer David Berg — whom he called the best reliever in NCAA history — and redshirt junior shortstop Kevin Kramer. He took the time to thank both: “They made my job a lot easier.”
“The culture of UCLA baseball — it is clearly in a position that we’ve never seen it before,” Savage said. “The last, let’s call it six years, since 2010. … We’re very proud. We have very proud team members. We know what we need to accomplish. We still need to accomplish a lot more.”
After being backed into a corner, UCLA baseball has forced its way into yet another rematch.
The Bruins scratched out a 4-2 win against Maryland on Sunday night, piecing together 13 hits against an assembly line of pitchers to extend the double-elimination NCAA Regional. After losing to the Terrapins on Saturday, UCLA bounced back by beating both Cal State Bakersfield and Maryland in Sunday rematches.
“It was a complete win for us,” said head coach John Savage. “A complete game. Clean game for us. Tomorrow, it’s going to be very very competitive.”
As the ball tipped over the glove and into the outfield, the UCLA fans cheered.
They had good reason. With the top-seeded Bruins baseball team facing elimination in its own NCAA Regional, a fielding error at shortstop helped extend their season a little longer.
In a 9-1 win over Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday evening at Jackie Robinson Stadium, UCLA turned a one-run lead into a six-run cushion — batting in five unearned runs after Mylz Jones mishandled a likely groundout in the top of the seventh.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to catch a 120-mile per hour knuckleball,” said CSUB coach Bill Kernan. “That’s what that was.”
It was Jones’ 12th error of the season, and likely the most costly of them all. Continue reading →