The last time UCLA faced Arizona starter Konner Wade, he didn’t get out of the third inning. Wade surrendered five earned runs on 10 hits and managed just one strikeout.
Wade suffered his first loss of the season on that April evening in Tucson.
It’s safe to say he’s moved past that and he proved it against the Bruins on Sunday night, pitching a five-hit, complete game shutout in the Wildcats 4-0 win in the College World Series, snapping UCLA’s 10-game winning streak.
“He’s good,” said UCLA head coach John Savage of Wade. “We hit him around early in the year but it’s one game and you really have to give him a lot of credit.
“He handled us tonight.”
Wade (10-3) struck out four and didn’t walk any in a 109-pitch effort.
It began as a pitcher’s duel on Sunday night at TD Ameritrade Park. Wade and his counterpart, UCLA starter Nick Vander Tuig were both perfect through three innings.
Vander Tuig (10-4) had allowed just one earned run through his first 17.1 innings this postseason, and all of a sudden things fell apart for him in the fourth inning.
After retiring the first 10 batters he faced, Vander Tuig allowed four straight singles by the Wildcats in the bottom of the fourth inning. The fourth was a two-RBI single by Wildcats third baseman Seth Mejian-Brean over the glove of Bruins’ second baseman Kevin Williams and into right field to give Arizona a 2-0 lead.
The next batter, designated hitter Bobby Brown, ripped a Vander Tuig offering into right field for a standup double that scored two runs to put the Wildcats (45-17) up 4-0.
That was the lone blemish for Vander Tuig, albeit a big one. He went 6.1 innings, allowing six hits, four earned runs and struck out eight.
The Bruins tried to respond in the fifth, loading the bases, but Williams popped out to left field to end the inning. It was a theme of the night for the Bruins.
“Everything we did get going (offensively), we got going with two outs and it’s tough to sustain a rally when you have two outs,” Savage said.
UCLA (48-15) now faces an elimination game on Tuesday at 5pm against Florida State (49-16). The Seminoles lost to Arizona in their opening game before winning an elimination game against Stony Brook on Sunday.
“(We have to) get back on the horse,” Savage said. “We got to be big boys and we got to go compete on Tuesday.”
It was the 400th win for Andy Lopez as Arizona’s head coach.