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Category: NCAA baseball playoffs

College baseball: UCLA stays alive with 4-1 victory over San Francisco

Ucla-usf_300 It didn't really matter what UCLA batters did Sunday afternoon. Bruins pitcher Adam Plutko saw to that.

Plutko, a freshman, gave up one hit in 7 2/3 innings and the Bruins avoided elimination with a 4-1 victory over San Francisco in the NCAA tournament regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Sunday. Nick Vander Tuig finished the game, sending UCLA to a game against UC Irvine at 6 p.m.

The Anteaters would advance to the super-regional round with a victory; if it wins, UCLA would force a decisive game Monday night.

Plutko succeed where Gerrit Cole failed Friday. He not only kept the Dons (32-25) off the scoreboard, but he also limited their time on the bases.

Cole, who many have projected as the No. 1 pick in the major league draft Monday, gave up three runs on 11 hits Friday in a 3-0 loss that left the Bruins needing to win four consecutive games to advance out of the double-elimination regional.

Plutko got UCLA one game closer. He gave up only a double by the Dons' Travis Higgs to start the fifth inning. Plutko (7-4) struck out six and walked two.

"I think Adam is the best freshman pitcher in the country," UCLA Coach John Savage said. "He may not have the numbers some guys have in terms of wins, but he stands up to anyone."

The Dons got quality starts from Kyle Zimmer and Matt Hiserman. Both pitched complete games in San Francisco’s first two games at the regional. The pitching was left to committee Sunday, with starter Jonathan Abramson going 2 1/3 innings.

The Bruins provided more offensive support for Plutko than they had for Cole and Trevor Bauer in the first two games, though that was grading on a curve.

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College baseball: UCLA's Trevor Bauer puts a cap on Fresno State batters

Trevor-bauer_200 When UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer had finished off an impressive 3-1 victory over Fresno State, eliminating the Bulldogs from the NCAA regional Saturday, it seemed clear that the best chance to get to Bauer was before the game started.

Bulldogs’ Coach Mike Batesole decided to have a serious discussion with home plate umpire Josh Scheipis. “We were just cleaning up a few ground rules from the other day,” Batesole said afterward.

Truth be told -- and UCLA catcher Steve Rodriquez went with the truth -- Batesole was complaining about Bauer’s well-worn and faded cap.

“He said it was white and that made it illegal,” Rodriguez said. “The ump said it was team issue.”

Ground rules established, Bauer (13-2) struck out four of the first six batters and 14 in the game. It gave Bauer 203 strikeouts this season, breaking by one Mark Prior’s Pacific 10 Conference single-season record and had moved into second on the conference’s career strikeouts list behind Tim Linecum.

“We live another day,” UCLA Coach John Savage said in big-picture reference to the victory.

The Bruins, coming off a 3-0 loss to San Francisco on Friday, were facing elimination. They needed every bit of Bauer’s performance as UCLA batters were once again more slumber than lumber (or metal).

The Bruins stranded 14 runners and were two for 11 with eight runners in scoring position.

“It’s very frustrating,” Savage said. “But that’s kind of been our style.”

Bauer’s style has been to cover up for those shortcomings. He wasn’t much different Saturday. “It was just Trevor being Trevor,” Savage said.

Bauer gave up only five hits and finished strong, striking out the side in the seventh and eighth innings. He threw 133 pitches for his ninth consecutive complete game. About the only stress the Bulldogs seemed to cause him came from hunger pains at the end.

“I’m pretty drained and need to get something to eat," Bauer said.

--Chris Foster

Photo: Trevor Bauer. Credit: Don Liebig / UCLA Photography

College baseball: Stanford defeats Kansas State, 10-3, in NCAA regional

Stanford-kstate_350 Mark Appel struck out eight and did not walk a batter and second baseman Lonnie Kauppila had four hits Friday to lead Stanford to a 10-3 victory over Kansas State in the opening game of an NCAA baseball regional at Cal State Fullerton.

Stanford (33-20) will play the winner of tonight's game between Fullerton and Illinois.

Stanford advanced to the winner's bracket game with a 16-hit attack to back Appel (6-6), a sophomore who had pitched only one other complete game this season. Appel gave up seven hits but kept the Wildcats off balance throughout the game.

Kansas State (36-24) committed five errors.

Kauppila, a high school standout at Crescenta Valley and Burbank, drove in two runs and scored twice.

More later at latimes.com/sports.

--Gary Klein

Photo: Stanford's Lonnie Kauppila (8) is greeted at home plate by teammate Sahil Bloom after scoring against Kansas State on a double by Kenny Diekroeger in the second inning Friday at Cal State Fullerton. Credit: Francis Specker / Associated Press

USC names Frank Cruz full-time baseball coach

USC logo Frank Cruz, who has been working this season as interim head baseball coach for USC, has been given the job full time, Athletic Director Pat Haden announced Thursday.

Cruz, 51, was a volunteer assistant at USC in 2009 and 2010. He succeeded Chad Kreuter, who was fired last August after USC finished 28-32 overall and 7-20 in the Pacific 10 Conference, which put the Trojans in last place. The Trojans were 111-117 in four seasons under Kreuter and finished no higher than fifth in the Pac-10.

Under Cruz, USC is 20-28 overall and 10-11 in the Pac-10 with six conference games remaining. The Trojans are two games out of fourth place.

Last week USC won a series against Arizona State for the first time since 2004.

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NCAA baseball: UCLA to host Super Regional

The NCAA announced Super Regional sites for it baseball tournament. UCLA, as expected, will host either Cal State Fullerton or Minnesota on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The best-of-three series resumes Saturday at 4 p.m., with a Sunday game at 7 p.m. if necessary.

Texas, Florida State and Texas A&M will also host Super Regionals that begin on Friday. Arizona State, Clemson, Virginia and Coastal Carolina host Super regionals that begin on Saturday.

-- Chris Foster

College baseball: Cal State Fullerton beats Minnesota, 7-2, to advance to regional final

Cal State Fullerton lost its NCAA regional opener to Minnesota, but the Titans beat the Golden Gophers, 7-2, on Sunday night at Goodwin Field and will play Minnesota in the regional final Monday.

Fullerton (44-16) rebounded from its loss to Minnesota on Friday with a victory over Stanford on Saturday and wins over New Mexico and Minnesota on Sunday.

Fullerton pitcher Colin O'Connell, making his fourth start of the season, dominated Minnesota, giving up two runs and seven hits in his first complete game. O'Connell struck out nine, walked one and benefited from several outstanding defensive plays.

Corey Jones and Nick Ramirez, who hit home runs in Fullerton's 11-3 victory over New Mexico earlier in the day, also homered against Minnesota. Fullerton also manufactured runs with bunts and double steals on a night when they collected 13 hits.

-- Gary Klein

NCAA baseball: UCLA defeats UC Irvine, wins regional

It’s an old baseball adage, and a repetitive one for UCLA this season . . .the best pitching wins.

That played out again Sunday night in a 6-2 victory over UC Irvine at Jackie Robinson Stadium that sent the sixth-seeded Bruins (46-13) on to next weekend’s super regional.

UCLA probably will play host to the best-of-three series; the university has put in a bid to host. But it might not matter where the Bruins play if they continue to baffle opposing batters.

A scrappy Irvine team, which eliminated LSU with a 4-3 victory earlier in the day, hung around until Cody Regis’ three-run homer in the eighth inning gave the Bruins a 6-2 lead.

UCLA batters may not like being viewed as the support staff, and they did scrap out key runs early in Sunday's game. But it is pitching that has the Bruins flirting with only the third College World Series appearance in school history, and that was evident again against Irvine.

The Anteaters (39-21) were unable to get much traction against UCLA starter Rob Rasmussen other than two lightning strikes, bases-empty home runs by Drew Hillman and Jordan Leyland .

Rasmussen has been all but unsolvable since being roughed up by Arizona State on May 2. He allowed seven runs and seven hits, three of which were home runs. Rasmussen then allowed only four runs in 26 1/3 innings over the rest of the regular season, winning three consecutive decisions.

It was more of the same against the Anteaters. Hillman homered in the second, Leyland in the fifth. Otherwise, Rasmussen (10-2) cruised along, striking out seven. The Anteaters had two on with one out following Leyland’s homer, but Rasmussen struck out Sean Madigan and Casey Stevenson to end the inning.

Erik Goeddel pitched two scoreless innings and Dan Klein one. UCLA relievers  allowed only one run in eight innings during the regional.

The Bruins’ staff is so deep that Garett Claypool, who is 7-3 with a 2.27 earned-run average as a starter, did little except sun himself this weekend. He was to be the starter if a Monday game was necessary. It wasn’t.

Irvine gutted out a victory over LSU to get to the evening game, getting six solid innings from freshman starter Evan Brock (seven strikeouts) and two innings of relief from Nick Hoover. But the Anteaters’ pitching was extended during the weekend and that became apparent against UCLA.

Starter Eric Peters, who pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief against LSU on Friday, and was less than sharp. Peters walked Regis to start the second inning and it cost him when Niko Gallegos tripled into the gap in left-center field  with two outs. An inning later, the Bruins took a 3-1 lead, with Blair Dunlap and Chris Giovinazzo driving in the runs.

--Chris Foster

NCAA baseball: UC Irvine eliminates LSU, 4-3

UC Irvine finally survived a ninth inning against defending champion LSU and stayed alive in the NCAA baseball tournament Sunday.

The Anteaters (39-20), who had known only agony against the Tigers in postseason play, got solid pitching from freshman Evan Brock and two innings of edge-of-the-seat relief from Nick Hoover to advance to a game Sunday night against UCLA, scheduled for 6:07 p.m.

UCLA needs one victory to win the regional. An Irvine victory would force a decisive game Monday night.

Brock (6-4) retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced, and the only run he allowed through six innings was on a home run by Blake Dean. Brock struck out seven and left after giving up back-to-back doubles to start the seventh.

The Anteaters led, 4-3, through seven but had to live with bad memories. LSU (41-22) rallied from one-run down in the ninth and won, 11-10, in 11 innings Friday night. The Tigers had also decimated the Anteaters with a five-run ninth to stave off elimination in 2008, then bounced Irvine from the tournament.

The Tigers had chances to reenact those moments Sunday.

LSU had two on with no out in the eighth, but Hoover was brought in and retired the side.

The Tigers’ Alex Edward singled to lead off the ninth, but the game turned on a slick defensive play. A ground ball by Matt Gaudet appeared headed for center field, but Irvine second baseman Casey Stevenson got to the ball and started a double play. Hoover got Tyler Hanover to pop up to pick up his first career save for Irvine.

The Anteaters scratched out just enough offense, taking a 4-2 lead on Drew Hillman’s  home run in the sixth inning. Irvine’s Ryan Fisher and D.J. Crumlich drove in runs with groundouts in the fourth. Jordan Leyland drove in a run with a single in the second.

-- Chris Foster

College baseball: UCLA defeats LSU, 6-3, in NCAA regional

Trevor Bauer pitched eight-plus innings and Cody Regis, Jeff Gelalich and Dean Espy hit home runs as UCLA defeated Louisiana State, 6-3,on Saturday night to remain unbeaten in an NCAA baseball regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Bauer (10-3), a sophomore from Valencia, gave up seven hits and struck out 11 as UCLA improved to 45-13.

LSU (41-21) plays an elimination game at 2 p.m. Sunday against UC Irvine, a 19-9 winner over Kent State on Saturday. The winner plays UCLA at 6 p.m.

Bauer outpitched LSU junior Anthony Ranaudo (5-3), who surrendered a solo homer to Regis in the second inning and then walked Regis with the bases loaded in the third. Gelalich hit his first homer of the season in the fourth and Beau Amaral drove in a run with double in the sixth.

Espy homered against left-hander Jordan Rittiner in the seventh.

LSU took advantage of an error and scored three runs in the ninth. Dan Klein got the final three outs for the Bruins.

I'll have more later at latimes.com

--Gary Klein

College baseball: UC Irvine stays alive with 19-9 victory over Kent State

UC Irvine didn't wallow in the aftermath of its opening-game defeat in the NCAA baseball regionals.

The Anteaters rebounded from their 11-inning loss to defending national champion Louisiana State by routing Kent State, 19-9, in an elimination game at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Irvine, which scored in every inning, will play Sunday against the loser of tonight's game between UCLA and LSU.

Irvine (38-20) was leading, 15-1, when it pulled starter Christian Bergman, who gave up one unearned run and five hits in five innings. Bergman (9-3) had not given up a run in his last 27 2/3 innings.

Kent State (39-25) scored eight runs in the sixth with the help of three-run homers by Ben Klafczynski and Kyle McMillen.

Casey Stevenson had five of the Anteaters' 21 hits and Jeff Cusick drove in five runs for Irvine. Jordan Leyland and Francis Larson homered for the Anteaters. 

More later at latimes.com/sports.

-- Gary Klein

College baseball: UCLA defeats Kent State, 15-1, in regional opener

UCLA, hosting an NCAA baseball regional for the first time since 1986, got off to a solid start Friday night by routing Ken State, 15-1.

The Bruins (44-13) advanced to a winner's bracket game against defending national champion Louisiana State, an 11-10 winner in 11 innings Friday over UC Irvine.

UCLA starter Gerrit Cole (10-2) gave up one hit and struck out seven in five innings.

The Bruins were ahead, 12-0, after five innings.They finished with 15 hits.

I'll have more later at latimes.com/sports.

-- Gary Klein

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