On Saturday, facing elimination at the College World Series, UCLA jumped out to an early lead against TCU, and cruised to a win to advance to the Championship Series in Omaha.
Been there, done that.
Monday night's contest with South Carolina, a 7-1 loss, was similar to the TCU loss. The Bruins got down early, and never could get over the hump.
The loss also was similar to the opening loss to CS Fullerton, when Gerrit Cole had another one of his toughest starts of the season.
A five-run deficit after three innings, and a stellar start by Blake Cooper did the Bruins in. As was typical of the evening, a mini-rally in the ninth was thwarted by a double-play, preventing a shutout, but doing little to stifle the Gamecocks.
Tonight, the Bruins face the Gamecocks in a must-win situation. They'll throw Rob Rasmussen on the mound. Rasmussen was nails against CS Fullerton the third game of the Super Regional, going nine innings of two-hit, one-run ball with nine strikeouts.
John Savage will need Rasmussen to pitch like that, and not like he did against TCU on Friday, when he only lasted 4.1. Savage wouldn't mind Rasmussen going the distance tonight either (as he showed with Bauer on Saturday and Rasmussen against Fullerton, he doesn't worry too much about the pitch counts- though Jeff Loria might, even though the Marlins will probably trade him away when he's a productive major leaguer, but we digress...).
Should the Bruins win tonight, they'll have Trevor Bauer on the mound for Game Three. And you can bet Bauer will be ready.
But it all comes down to tonight. Win, and the Bruins have a chance at glory on Wednesday. Lose, and the finest season in school history comes to a bittersweet end.
The Bruins know what they need to do, now it's time to act like they've been there before. Which they have.
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