Bruins Fall Short at Rosenblatt

UCLA's memorable baseball season comes to a heartbreaking end at Rosenblatt Stadium, with an extra-inning loss to South Carolina in Game Two of the Championship Series...

Every time there was a jam, it seemed UCLA found a way to get out of it.

Against CS Fullerton two weeks ago, facing elimination in the Super Regional. For most of Game Two of the College World Series Championship.

But a ball off the glove of Dean Espy allowed South Carolina to tie the game, 1-1 in the eighth, and eventually win it in 11 innings.

For all the 4.8, McPick or Farmar/Bozeman steal that UCLA has gotten to clinch memorable wins, it was a play that worked against the Bruins that will haunt them.

Whit Merrifield knocked in Scott Wingo in the 11th, after Bruin closer Dan Klein valiantly pitched 3.1 innings, well past his normal one inning of work. Klein struck out four in his body of work, but showed signs of tiring in the 11th, allowing the Gamecocks to capture their first CWS title and preventing the Bruins from doing the same.

It was a heartbreaking end to what had been the most memorable season in Bruin history.

UCLA won a school-record 51 games, won a Super Regional for the first time, made it the championship series at the CWS for the first time, and stamped John Savage's resume as one of the top baseball coaches in the country, something Dan Guerrero had hoped Savage would do when he hired him away from UC Irvine after Gary Adams retired.

The Bruins will rue the missed opportunities. The bases loaded strikeout in the top of the ninth by Niko Gallego. The 10 men left on base. The stellar performance by Rob Rasmussen. The lack of a bat because of substitutions in the extra frames.

As the lights were turned off in Rosenblatt Stadium for the final time, UCLA's lights for the season were turned off too.

It was a memorable one, but one that came to a bittersweet end, a night before the Bruins were hoping it would.


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