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College World Series: UCLA beats Florida, 11-3

Before the College World Series began, ESPN required each team to provide four players for pregame interviews.

The television network selected three UCLA pitchers, and the lone hitter was chosen only because he suffered a broken wrist as the team celebrated after the super regional.

Maybe after Saturday, the Bruins’ lineup will get some attention without needing a freak injury involved. In addition to starter Trevor Bauer’s 11 strikeouts, UCLA took one step closer to proving it has more than just pitching in an 11-3 victory over Florida at Rosenblatt Stadium. It was the UCLA’s first CWS victory.

“We knew that there’s two sides of the ball,” said shortstop Niko Gallego, who was four for five and scored two runs. “They do what they do on their side, and we do what we do on our side.”

The Bruins (49-14) were calm in the postgame, hoping to avoid another unfortunate incident. Last week, second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla was injured after being piled on by teammates following the Super Regional victory against Cal State Fullerton.

Without their leader in hits, the Bruins still were impressive at the plate. They pounded out 18 hits against the third-seeded Gators, who threw ace Alex Panteliodis. He lasted just 31/3 innings after allowing five hits and four earned runs.

“We had 15 singles out of 18 hits,” UCLA Coach John Savage said. “We kind of pecked away at them. We didn’t have a home run all night. It was a typical game offensively for us in terms of we used the middle field, we had a bunch of singles. We had some stolen bases, we kept on coming after them.”

UCLA benefited some from a generous Florida defense. The Gators, who had committed only two errors all postseason, allowed three runs on two wild pitches and a passed ball and another when third baseman Austin Maddox mishandled a routine grounder.

Still, Bruins hitters did most of the damage.

With a one-run lead, second baseman Cody Regis had run-scoring single to make it 4-2 in the third. Designated hitter Blair Dunlap put the Bruins ahead, 7-3, with a two-run single in the fifth. The run support was plenty for a pitching staff ranked among the nation’s best.

Bauer went seven innings, allowing six hits. His 11 strikeouts allowed him to break the school’s single-season record, with 152. UCLA moved on to a matchup with Texas Christian at 5 p.m. Monday.

That winner will be off until Friday and will need one more victory to advance to the championship series. Florida (47-16) plays Florida State in the loser’s bracket Monday.

“To be quite honest, I didn’t even know this was our first win,” Bauer said. “Maybe I should’ve, but as coach said earlier, it’s not done. We got a practice coming up and a game on Monday.”

sdrichardson@sunsentinel.com


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