UCLA captures its 1st baseball crown
OMAHA, Neb. – Eric Filia drove in a career-high five runs, Nick Vander Tuig limited Mississippi State to five hits in eight innings, and UCLA won its first national championship in baseball, 8-0 Tuesday night.
The Bruins (49-17) completed a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals and ended the season with 11 straight wins.
Vander Tuig held off the Bulldogs (51-20) when they threatened in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings and recorded his fourth win in the NCAA tournament.
Vander Tuig (14-4) struck out six and walked one. David Berg pitched the ninth.
Filia produced runs with a sacrifice fly, squeeze bunt and two base hits as the Bruins scored their most runs in 18 games.
Bulldogs starter Luis Pollorena (6-4) lasted one inning.
UCLA allowed four runs in five games to set a CWS record for fewest in the metal-bat era that started in 1974.
Before Tuesday’s game, Damani Leech, the NCAA’s director of championships and alliances, said no immediate changes are planned in an attempt bring up the home run numbers at the CWS. There were three home runs hit in the first 13 games, and some have suggested that the fences should be moved in at TD Ameritrade Park.
All of that costs money, and we would do that why? So there would be a few more home runs? Is it worth it? said Leech, the NCAA’s director of championships and alliances.
Leech said that the offensive issues at the CWS coincide with the drop in offense throughout all of college baseball since the dialed-back metal bats were put into play in 2011. According to the NCAA’s midseason statistics report, the latest data available, the per-team average for home runs was about one every three games. The year before the new bat specifications, the average was about one per game.