LOS ANGELES – UCLA starting pitcher Trevor Bauer pitched an outstanding eight innings, while the top-seeded Bruins launched three homers and held off a late LSU rally to top the second-seeded Tigers, 6-3, in the second round of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional Saturday night in Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Tigers (41-21) will face UC Irvine in an elimination game Sunday at 2 p.m. PT in Jackie Robinson Stadium. The winner of that game will face UCLA (45-13) in the championship game of the regional at 6 p.m. PT Sunday. An “if necessary” game will be held on Monday at 6 p.m. should UCLA lose Sunday evening. LSU will be the visitors against UC Irvine Sunday.
Bauer (10-3) was marvelous for UCLA as the right-hander tossed eight innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts. LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo (5-3) was charged with the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings with four walks and 10 strikeouts.
“Their starting pitcher was as good as we’ve faced this season,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “We’ve faced some good pitchers this year, but that kid was something special. I’m proud of the guys at the end of the game; they just didn’t quit. Hopefully we come out tomorrow and play nine good innings and hopefully have a second game after.”
The Tigers rallied in the bottom of the ninth when Micah Gibbs scored from second on a double by Austin Nola off the wall in left. Center fielder Leon Landry followed with a double to deep center to cut the deficit to 6-2.
LSU made the score 6-3 after Landry advanced to third on a groundout by Alex Edward and scored on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Matt Gaudet. Right-hander Dan Klein relieved Bauer before Edward’s groundout and he forced Mason Katz to pop out to second to end the game and seal the 6-3 win for UCLA.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when third baseman Cody Regis lifted a solo homer off Ranaudo to lead off the inning. The homer was Regis’ fifth of the season.
In the third, UCLA loaded the bases with two outs when Regis drew a walk to plate a run and increase the Bruins’ lead to 2-0. Ranaudo struck out the next batter, Chris Giovinazzo with the bases loaded to end the UCLA rally in the third.
UCLA went up 3-0 in the fourth when left fielder Jeff Gelalich homered to lead off the inning. The homer was Gelalich’s first of the season. The Bruins increased their lead to 4-0 in the sixth when center fielder Beau Amaral ripped a two-out RBI double over Katz’s head in left.
Freshman right-hander Jordan Rittiner came on in relief of Ranaudo to start the seventh and gave up a solo homer to pinch hitter Dean Espy, which increased UCLA’s lead to 5-0. In the ninth, Espy lined a two-out RBI single through the left side to make the score 6-0.