June 13, 2010
Los Angeles - Rob Rasmussen pitched a 2-hitter and UCLA turned 12 hits and a critical Titan error into an 8-1 victory Sunday night over Cal State Fullerton to give the Bruins the NCAA Super Regional title and their third trip to the College World Series.
The Bruins ended six years of mostly futility against the Titans, who had beaten them 19 times in 22 games before dropping back-to-back games Saturday (11-7 in 10 innings) and Sunday. UCLA improved to 48-14 while the Titans' season ends at 46-18, one win shy of their 17th CWS appearance. Rasmussen improved to 11-2 while Fullerton's Dylan Floro finishes at 7-2.
Rasmussen allowed only five baserunners and struck out nine. He retired 15 consecutive batters between Tyler Pill's lead-off single in the fourth inning and a walk to Richie Pedroza leading off the ninth.
Floro retired the first seven men he faced but ran into trouble in the third inning when Niko Gallego singled to right center. Gallego stole second and Steve Rodriguez drew a walk. Gallego stole third before Beau Amaral singled him home to tie the score, 1-1. Floro appeared to have escaped further trouble when he struck out Blair Dunlap and got Tyler Rahmatulla to hit a drive to center field. But Joey Siddons, playing in place of injured first-round draft pick Gary Brown, dropped the ball allowing Rodriguez and Amaral to score a pair of unearned runs.
Fullerton had taken an immediate 1-0 lead. Christian Colon singled to left to open the game, moved to second when Richie Pedroza was hit by a pitch, to third on Nick Ramirez' fly out to center and home on Pill's ground ball to second.
"There was a script written for this team and it wasn't what we hoped it would be," said Head Coach Dave Serrano. "We could say shoulda , coulda, woulda but UCLA was the better team this weekend.
"Rasmussen was really good. There was a small window of opportunity early in the game, and he got better. He got in a good rhythm and got much tougher as the game wore on."
"His stuff was good," said CSF shortstop Christian Colon. "He did well. He mixed pitches well. He had a chip on his shoulder like he wanted to do something like get our offense quiet and he did."
UCLA tacked on two runs after two were out in the sixth on consecutive singles by Cody Regis, Chris Giovanazzo, Jeff Gelalich and Gallego. Catcher Billy Marcoe threw out Rahmatulla trying to steal or the inning could have been bigger. UCLA made it 6-1 in the seventh and chased Floro. Amaral beat out an infield single and was sacrificed to second. Nick Ramirez took the mound and was greeted by Rahmatulla's RBI single to left. With two out in the eighth he was tagged for a double by Rodriguez and Amaral's fourth home run, the only extra-base hits in the game.
Fullerton played without second baseman Corey Jones, who separated his shoulder sliding into second base after a go-ahead 2-run single in the seventh inning Saturday night.
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
Head Coach Dave Serrano
(opening statement): "First off I'd like to congratulate UCLA Baseball, Coach Savage and his coaching staff on a job well done. They are a fabulous baseball team, and my hope is that they go out and represent the West Coast in a wonderful way, and my hope is that they come out and win the national championship. Everything to me indicates that they have a chance to. As far as our team, obviously it's devastation. As I told the team, there was a script written for this team, and unfortunately it was not what we hoped it was going to be. Sometimes things are out of your control. I've been with some teams that have been to Omaha, and this 2010 team will be very close to my heart for a long time because of the stuff that we've had to deal with the whole year. By no means is it an excuse, but it is what it is. I think if you ask UCLA, they won this Super Regional, but they had their hands full. I also told the team we could sit there and say should've, could've, would've, but we're not going to do that. We lost, the matchups squared up for UCLA, and they were the better team this weekend."
(On UCLA pitcher Rob Rasmussen's performance): "Rasmussen was really good. In the seventh inning, he got better, actually. There was a small window of opportunity in the first four innings, but we were not able to take advantage. Like good starting pitchers do, they get into a rhythm. And he got into a good rhythm and got much tougher as the game went on."
(On Tyler Rahmatulla's bat this series) "There's a reason why he's the 3-hole hitter for their team. That's a young baseball team. I said to Coach Vanderhook, 'your kids are growing up tremendously' and he agreed. Rahmatulla is one of the older guys on a young team, and he played like a 3-hole hitter would and like a guy who's had a lot of experience and at-bats. He was a tough out this weekend."
(on the missed catch by Joey Siddons) "From what I saw from 300-400 feet away, it was a fastball to Rahmatulla. It looked like he got on top of the ball, it had some topspin on it, which made it tougher to catch, and it had some sinking action, and he just missed the ball. Those two runs weren't going to beat us in my mind. It ended up beating us, but I won't look back and say that was the big key to the game."
Cal State Fullerton Pitcher Dylan Floro
(on pitching against Rasmussen) "It's frustrating, but it's one of the things you have to work through being a pitcher. You go out there, and you're throwing pitches low, but they were finding holes, and he was getting outs, and there's not much you can do."
(on how this season gave him confidence going forward): "Yes, it does do a lot for my confidence. This year's over with, and I've got to move on and start working on my pitches, keeping them low, and putting in more time and more work."
Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon
(on facing Rasmussen) "His stuff was good. As an offense, I thought he did well. He mixed his pitches well. He had a chip on his shoulder, and he wanted to do something and make sure our offense was quiet, and he was able to get that."
(on his college career ending) "I had a blast. I think I had the best coaching staff in whole country. They made us better people, and this man right here (Coach Serrano) did so much for me, and I'll never forget that. My experience in college is something I will never forget, ever. Obviously going pro is exciting, but I'm not thinking about that. I'm just proud to play for Coach Serrano and this coaching staff. Even though things didn't go our way, I'm very proud to be a Titan under Coach Serrano."