The UCLA Bruins and TCU Horned Frogs faced off in a Winner’s bracket matchup. UCLA sent ace Gerrit Cole to the mound while TCU countered with Kyle Winkler. UCLA opened up their College World Series with a victory over Florida 11-3 while TCU picked up a 8-1 victory over Florida State.
UCLA jumped on TCU starter Winkler with single runs in the first two innings with Blair Dunlap and Beau Amaral each having RBI singles. The UCLA offense would continue to score as they tacked on three more runs in the third inning to expand the lead to 5-0 and knock TCU starter Kyle Winkler out of the game. He ended up lasting 2.2 innings giving up six hits, five runs, walking 3, and striking out two batters.
The remained 5-0 behind the strong arm of Gerrit Cole who held TCU to a second inning single by Jason Coats. The Horned Frogs finally broke through in the seventh inning when Jason Coats got a one out single. Matt Curry followed with another single to put runners on second and first. After a Joe Weik popup, Jantzen Witte would hit a line drive single to left field. Taylor Featherston had an epic at bat going to a 3-2 count and eventually tripled in the left-center field gap to cut the UCLA down to 5-3. UCLA’s Gerrit Cole would eventually settle down in the inning by striking out Aaron Schultz to end the threat.
UCLA would expand the lead back to three when Beau Amaral hit a lead off double and moved over to third on a passed ball. He would eventually score on a Niko Gallego sacrifice fly to center field to put the Bruins up 6-3.
Gerrit Cole ended up pitching eight innings, five hits, three runs, two walks, and striking out 13 batters. He talked about his seventh inning after the game stating:
I thought it started off that 7th inning pretty good. I’m pretty sure I recorded the first out. And then I think it was two consecutive hits. So runners on first and second. And then I knew in an RBI situation, the guy was going to be pretty aggressive towards the end of the inning. I think we went in and out, and I just kind of tagged the fastballs and got them to pop up.
And then the next guy, I thought I made a pretty good pitch. And he just hit it. And sometimes you’ve got to tip your cap, especially guys here. I mean, they’re here for a reason. It’s because they’re good.
And then the guy after that, he started battling, 3 2 count. I thought I’d shown him the fastball and the slider and the cutter a little bit earlier. So I decided to go to the change. I threw it. It was just up in the zone. I don’t know how good he hit it, but he hit it well enough so that we couldn’t field it. And you gotta tip your cap. 3 2 change, not many people can hammer that in the gap.
So after that I just kind of, you know, just flushed it, got rid of it. We still had a two run lead. Still felt really good. Got the next guy. Made some pitches. And then, you know, the next inning really wanted to get back out there. Got back out there, took the bull by the horns, slipped up a little bit on the catcher, I think the 3 0. Then Coach came out and said, hey, we want to go to Klein, and I told him I wanted the ball. And he had a lot of trust in me, and so does everybody in that field. And I have a lot of trust in them.
So actually, Niko wanted the ground ball. It didn’t quite get to him, but anyway, got him on the next pitch.
Dan Klein finished the game off for the Bruins by pitching the ninth inning by giving up one hit but no runs to pick up his 10th save of the year.