Louisiana State baseball fans are notorious for not just traveling with the Tigers when they hit the road, but “taking over” opposing ballparks. That has been clear through two days in the Los Angeles Regional at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium. There has been enough purple and gold to satisfy a Lakers’ Finals party.
On Saturday night in front of a postseason-record crowd of 2,613 at Jackie Robinson Stadium, Bruins pitcher Trevor Bauer was the one who took over, helping UCLA to a 6-3 win by throwing eight shutdown innings. UCLA moved on in the winner’s bracket and will await the winner of Sunday’s elimination game between No. 2 seed LSU and No. 3 UC Irvine, which sent No. 4 Kent State home earlier Saturday.
“That dude had every pitch he wanted to throw,” LSU slugger Blake Dean said.
Bauer mixed his pitches well, often starting batters with curveballs and finishing with sliders off the plate. His fastball was alive early, perhaps due to the electric atmosphere created by the buzzing crowd.
He finished with 11 strikeouts, seven hits and three runs allowed in 8-plus innings (he gave way to closer Dan Klein without retiring a batter in the ninth).
“In different points in the game, different stuff was working,” Bauer said. “It was kind of a battle for me and I just tried to do the best with what I had.”
Freshman Cody Regis tagged LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo for a missile homer to left-center field leading off the second. He made it 2-0 Bruins by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the third. Another big fly by another freshman, this one being Jeff Gelalich, handed UCLA a 3-0 cushion.
A Beau Amaral run-scoring double made it 4-0 before Dean Espy cranked another home run. Espy added an RBI single in the ninth for the 6-0 advantage.
On this night, the support was plenty for Bauer.
“You just have to tip your hat to the guy,” Dean said.