UCLA holds more total national championships than any other collegiate athletic program in the nation, but prior to tonight, there was no baseball title among its 108 trophies. After the Bruins' 8-0 win over Mississippi State on Tuesday night, that's no longer the case.
UCLA won a clinching Game 2 the same way it has won all year: combining nearly unhittable pitching, shutdown defense and opportunistic offense.
Nick Vander Tuig was fantastic, blanking Mississippi State through his eight innings of work and allowing just five hits while fanning six. David Berg then entered to close the ninth.
The UCLA offense, meanwhile, was as efficient as always, putting up eight runs on 12 hits. The Bruins put on an absolute clinic of small-ball execution throughout the postseason. Without power hitting in the lineup, they showcased a masterful ability to move men around the bases through smart baserunning and sac plays.
In fact, they executed sac bunts on a historical level during their stay in Omaha:
UCLA has 12 sac bunts in the 2013 #CWS, which is tied for the most ever with Santa Clara in 1962.— NCAA CWS (@NCAACWS) June 26, 2013
UCLA didn't waste any time getting on the board. They got a leadoff runner on base in the bottom of the first with a hit-by-pitch, then a throwing error by MSU pitcher Luis Polloreno put men on the corners with no outs. A sac liner to right field then scored the game's first run and put UCLA up 1-0.
That would be the only inning for Polloreno, as Ross Mitchell would start the second inning on the mound for the Bulldogs.
The Bruins struck again in the bottom of the third. A walk and a single put men on first and third before a sac bunt brought in a second run.
One batter later, Pat Valaika singled to right to make it 3-0.
UCLA then added two more in the bottom of the fourth to push the lead to 5-0.
RBI singles from Eric Filia in both the sixth and eighth inning then put the finishing touches on the 8-0 win.
The loss brings a close to an otherwise fantastic year for Mississippi State, who finishes 51-20 and advanced to the championship series for the first time in program history.