By: Ghizal Hasan
The Fresno State Bulldogs were “rewarded” for their WAC Regular Season and Tournament Titles with a #2 seed at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Two days later the Dawgs are out of the tournament, courtesy of UCLA’s Trevor Bauer, who pitched the Bruins to a 3-1 win Saturday afternoon.
Bauer was masterful, limiting the Diamond Dogs to six hits, in tossing his ninth straight complete game dating back to April 2nd. He struck out 14, running his season total to 203, eclipsing Mark Prior’s single-season Pac 10 mark of 202. Bauer’s gem comes on the heels of the Bruins losing Friday’s opener to USF, as Kyle Zimmer bested Gerrit Cole. UCLA now earns a Sunday rematch with the Dons.
A first inning RBI single by Cody Keefer staked the Bruins to a 1-0 lead, and they added a run in the 4th on a groundout by Cody Regis, giving Bauer all the offense he needed.
Fresno State touched Bauer for their lone run in the top of the 6th, as Danny Muno followed Pat Hutcherson’s double with an RBI single to trim a 2-0 UCLA lead in half. Brennan Gowens drew a walk, and the Bulldogs looked to be in business with two on, none out and their three and four hitters due. Bauer then fanned Dusty Robinson and induced a popup from Justin Ribiera before Garret Weber bounced to Cody Regis to end both the threat and inning.
Trevor Brown’ RBI single provided insurance for the Bauer, who struck out the side in the seventh and eight, after surrendering leadoff singles in both frames. Bauer worked his fastball, curve and slider in dominant fashion, as he mowed through the Bulldog lineup with authority.
The Bruins win sets up a re-match with San Francisco on Sunday afternoon. The Dons upended the Bruins Friday, getting a standout performance from Sophomore righty Kyle Zimmer. On Saturday, they got a taste of their own medicine as Irvine’s Sophomore lefty Matt Whitehouse served USF an unpleasant spoonful, allowing four hits and striking out seven over eight and a third.
DJ Crumlich plated Tommy Reyes with a sac fly in the top of the third, and the Anteaters hung a three on the board in the top of the sixth, when Brian Hernandez plated Ronnie Schaeffer with a single, and Drew Hillman followed with a blast that cleared the left field fence for a two-run homer.
The Dons scratched a run off in the bottom of the sixth, but didn’t do much more until the bottom of the ninth, when, aided by a UC Irvine error, they staged a late rally. The WCC champs pushed the tying run to second base, but freshman lefty Jimmy Litchfield fanned Mason Morioka to end the game, after the Dons scored twice against Whitehouse and Anteater closer Bryan Hernandez.
UC Irvine awaits the winner of the 2pm game between USF and UCLA on Sunday.