- Peter Yoon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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UCLA's season came to an end with a 4-1 loss to Florida State in an elimination game at the College World Series Tuesday in Omaha. Here’s a quick look at the game:
OVERVIEW: Florida State struck early, tagging UCLA starter Zack Weiss for two runs on three walks and a hit in only 1/3 of an inning before he got pulled.
Both of the Florida State first-inning runs came on bases loaded walks as reliever Grant Watson walked the first man he faced after coming in with the bases loaded.
The Seminoles (50-16) consistently worked long at-bats, forcing UCLA pitchers to make 94 pitches through the first four innings. They left eight runners on base over that stretch but struck for two more runs in the fourth when cleanup hitter Joyce Boyd laid down a surprise bunt with the bases loaded and one out on the first pitch by UCLA reliever Ryan Deeter.
Third baseman Kevin Kramer charged the ball and tried to grab it, but overran the ball. As the it sat on the infield grass, Florida State's Devon Travis motored from second and scored giving Boyd a two-run bunt single that traveled about 50 feet.
Florida State pitchers Scott Sitz, Hunter Scantling and Robert Benincasa did the rest. Sitz, the starter, pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up only one run and five hits with eight strikeouts. Scantling and Benincasa closed out the game with 1 1/3 perfect innings.
TURNING POINT: Things started looking up for UCLA in the sixth inning when Kevin Williams walked, Beau Amaral doubled, Tyler Heineman got hit by a pitch and Cody Keefer singled in a run to make the score 4-1.
But with the bases loaded and nobody out, the Bruins could do no more damage as Sitz struck out Jeff Gelalich, Trevor Brown and Pat Valaika to leave three runners stranded. The Bruins got only one more base runner in the game.
UCLA STAR OF THE GAME: Relief pitcher David Berg, who made his 50th appearance of the season to move into second place on the NCAA single season appearance list, was phenomenal during his stint. He came into the game with runners at first and second and nobody out in the sixth and proceeded to get three outs on four pitches by inducing a pop up and an inning-ending double play.
In the seventh, he got three outs on six pitches with a ground out, a single and another inning-ending double play. He pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up only one hit against seven batters.
Offensively, Amaral was the only UCLA player to have two hits.
STAT OF THE GAME: UCLA pitchers walked eight batters, the third most walks by the Bruins all season. They walked 10 on Feb. 24 against Baylor and walked nine on March 11 against Georgia.
Weiss simply never could find the strike zone. He threw 26 pitches and 16 were balls. He walked three of the five batters he faced, went to a three-ball count against four of the five batters and did not throw a first-pitch strike.
WHAT IT MEANS: UCLA's season ends with a 48-16 record. The Bruins will be left with the disappointment of leaving Omaha without a national championship for the second time in three seasons and many of the core group of juniors will be gone next season as Amaral, Gelalich, Keefer, Hieneman and Brown were all drafted.
The pitching staff should be strong next season with Adam Plutko, Nick Vander Tuig, Weiss, Grant Watson, Berg and Ryan Deeter all returning, but the Bruins -- who batted only .161 in the last two games of the College world Series -- will have to replace the guys who batted one through five in their lineup.