UCLA Baseball College World Series Reset


Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA’s disheartening 4-1 loss to Maryland on Saturday sets up a tough road out of the LA Regional for the Bruins, who now must win three straight elimination games Sunday and Monday.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

With Ole Miss losing to Maryland on Friday and CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, they are eliminated. UCLA now faces CSUB in the losers bracket in a 4pm Sunday tilt, the winner of which faces Maryland at 8pm. With freshman SP Griffin Canning still out with a back injury, UCLA coach John Savage has yet to name a starter for the CSUB game.  If the Bruins were to win both of Sunday’s games, they’d need to win a rubber match against Maryland on Monday. A loss in any of these games means the end of the season for the tournament’s overall top seed.

Saturday’s game was so disheartening not because it was a last second heartbreaker, but for exactly the opposite reason. After posting a run in the top of the first inning, the senior pitcher Grant Watson and the rest of the Bruin defense gave up two in the bottom of the second and another two in the bottom of the third. That 4-1 score lingered like stale BO for the next six innings, suffocating any and all comeback attempts from the Bruin offense.

It’s like trying to hit a five-run homer right now…You can’t go win the tournament [on Sunday].

UCLA stranded seven runners, including three in the fourth inning, when sophomore SS Brett Stephens struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning. As we’ve noted before, the Bruin offense tends to disappear in losses, and that was certainly the case against Maryland, but a team that averages over six runs per game ought to be able to overcome a 4-1 deficit over six innings, particularly when given the opportunity to face Maryland without its dominant ace Mike Shawaryn, who was unavailable after pitching Friday night in the win over Ole Miss.

That, I think, is what’s ultimately so disheartening about Saturday’s loss. The team pressed and pressed and still failed to do what it had done so often before this season: hit for power and score runs.

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Consequently, they didn’t look like the team we know they can be, and that’s a surefire way to fall short of lofty expectations.

More: UCLA Baseball College World Series LA Regional Preview

Savage, ever a devotee of routine, is turning to the useful (if cliched) mantra of facing the coming gauntlet one game at a time. He doesn’t want his Bruins to get ahead of themselves. “It’s like trying to hit a five-run homer right now. You can’t. You can’t get into that mode. You can’t go win the tournament [on Sunday].” The Bruins can’t win the tournament or even the Regional this afternoon, but they can lose both.