UCLA's pitcher Trevor Bauer. Image Via: Crystal LoGiudice, US Presswire
The finals of the College World Series are set, and the two participants will be UCLA and South Carolina.
The Bruins plated five first-inning runs and never looked back, routing Texas Christian 10-3. Ben Dunlap stunned the Horned Frogs early, ripping a three-run home run into the left-field bleachers. Dunlap finished 3-for-5 on the day.
That support was more than enough for Bruin starter Trevor Bauer. Despite a heat index of 107 degrees, Bauer threw 84 of his 135 pitches for strikes and fanned 13. Although the Horned Frogs chipped away at the lead, closing to 6-3 on the second of Bryan Holaday’s two home runs, they never seriously threatened.
UCLA plated two runs in the sixth and seventh innings, ending any chance of another miracle TCU comeback. The Horned Frogs trailed Florida State 7-2 in a game earlier in the CWS, but came back to win.
But Bauer, who leads the NCAA with 165 strikeouts, would have none of it. He retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced to improve to 12-3 on the year.
The Bruins will face the Gamecocks, who edged Clemson 4-3 behind the hitting heroics of Christian Walker and the strong pitching of Sam Dyson.
Walker went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI and Dyson scattered five hits over six and two-thirds innings as South Carolina beat their rival for the second straight night.
Walker broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh with an RBI single, and Adrian Morales’ single provided the winning margin. Although Clemson plated a run in the eighth they could get no closer. Despite entering the game with seven batters hitting over .300, the Tigers went 0-for-8 with runners in the scoring position.
The Gamecocks and Bruins will play a best-of-three championship series starting Monday. Neither South Carolina or UCLA has ever won the CWS title.