TCU eliminated by UCLA in super regional
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Nick Vander Tuig allowed one run in six innings to lift UCLA to a 4-1 victory over TCU Saturday to win the NCAA Super Regional and advance to the College World Series.
The Bruins (47-14) advanced to the CWS for the fourth time in school history and the first time since 2010.
UCLA has won nine straight games, including five consecutive postseason games, and 16 of its past 17 overall.
Vander Tuig (10-3) gave way to David Berg after walking the leadoff hitter in the seventh. Berg retired the side in order and finished off the Horned Frogs in the eighth and ninth to earn his first save.
Vander Tuig gave up five hits and struck out five.
"I was nervous at first but as the game went on I settled down and got more comfortable and made better pitches," said Vander Tuig, who struck out a career-high 11 in last weekend's regional win over New Mexico. "I've always dreamed of going to Omaha as a college baseball player."
Preston Morrison (9-2) took the loss for the Horned Frogs (40-22).
Trevor Brown tripled with one out in the second and scored on Pat Valaika's sacrifice fly to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. UCLA made it 2-0 on a well-executed squeeze bunt by Tyler Heineman that scored Kevin Kramer.
"We grind for nine," Valaika said. "We see a lot of pitches and get the next guy to the plate. It worked tonight and it's been working all season."
Brance Rivera's solo homer in the third cut the UCLA lead to 2-1. The Horned Frogs have homered in 11 consecutive games.
The Bruins added runs in the sixth and seventh innings to build a 4-1 lead.
Berg moved into a tie for second place for single season NCAA Division I appearances (47) for a pitcher when he entered the game in the eighth inning.
The record is 51 appearances.
UCLA won Friday night's opener 6-2 when Cody Regis' three-run double ignited a five-run sixth inning. Adam Plutko pitched seven strong innings and got the win for UCLA.
UCLA coach John Savage is thrilled to be going back to Omaha for the second time in three years.
"I've always said the most difficult thing to do in college baseball is to come out of the West and go to Omaha," Savage said. "But this team found its way. We don't blow people away, we hang around, we chip away and we make everything count.
"At the end of the day this is a strong-minded team. Every time they step on the field they feel they can win."
The Horned Frogs, the Mountain West Conference co-champs, scored 52 runs in five games during last weekend's College Station Regional but could only muster three runs (all on solo homeruns) during the Super Regional.
"They have an outstanding team and played really well," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "Every mistake we made they cashed in on. We didn't string enough hits together. They didn't give us enough opportunities - that's what good teams do and that's why they are going to Omaha."