In the game to determine who gets to face Mississippi State in the CWS Finals, the North Carolina Tar Heels faced off with the UCLA Bruins. The Tar Heels hoped to have another dominant outing like they did against the NC State Wolfpack, but UCLA would not have it that way.
It was UCLA’s game from the very beginning. In the bottom of the second Pat Gallagher singled to right center, followed by a single by Kevin Williams, which put Gallagher on third. Another single to right by Cody Regis scored Gallagher and UCLA took the 1-0 lead.
North Carolina just could not get their bats going, and UCLA continued their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Eric Filla reached on the first at bat of the inning thanks to an error by the first baseman Cody Stubbs. After a sacrifice bunt and single by Gallagher to left Filla found himself on third. Williams singled again to center scoring Filla and taking the 2-0 lead for the Bruins.
But at the bottom of the seventh the Bruins momentum just kept on going. After two pitching changes Pat Valaika doubled to left scoring Brian Carroll and Filla who both walked. This gave the Bruins a commanding 4-0 lead.
Pitching all around was not strong for Carolina. Starting pitcher Kent Emmanuel went six innings, allowed five hits, two runs (one earned) and struck out seven. The bullpen went through four pitchers in the seventh, who as a group gave up two earned runs, one hit, two walks and no strikeouts.
UCLA’s Grant Watson was impressive in keeping Carolina’s bats quiet. He also went six innings, allowed four hits, no runs, one walk and three strikeouts. James Kaprielian pitched the seventh facing four batters and striking out two. Zack Weiss pitched the eighth, allowed one hit in his four batters faced.
North Carolina woke up in the bottom of the ninth and started their comeback. He gave up two back to back singles, and then gives up a walk to load the bases with no outs. A fielder’s choice scores a run, and a force out a second puts runners on the corners with one out. A strikeout from Parks Jordan gives the Bruins their second out of the inning. Chaz Frank, the Tar Heels leadoff hitter, walks to again load the bases. Lassiter flies out to center, leaving the bases loaded and ending the game.
The Bruins not only knocked out the number one seed in the nation, but earned their spot in the Final. It is Mississippi State against UCLA for the championship. Game 1 begins on Monday, 8pm ET on ESPN.