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June 16, 2013

Rewind: UCLA 2, LSU 1

An error by shortstop Alex Bregman allowed the winning run to score in the eighth inning as UCLA defeated LSU 2-1 in an opening-round game of the College World Series on Sunday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

LSU fourth inning - Mason Katz hit a one-out solo homer over the leftfield fence. LSU 1, UCLA 0

UCLA sixth inning - Brian Carroll reached on a bunt single and advanced to second when catcher Ty Ross made a wide throw to first base on the play. Carroll moved to third when Kevin Kramer grounded out to second baseman JaCoby Jones. Carroll scored on a sacrifice fly by Eric Filia to leftfielder Raph Rhymes. UCLA 1, LSU 1

UCLA eighth inning - Pinch-hitter Ty Moore singled. Pinch-runner Christoph Bono went to second on a bunt by Carroll. After Kramer flied out to leftfield, Bono scored when Bregman misplayed Filia's ground ball. UCLA 2, LSU 1

First inning - With one out, Mark Laird doubled. Laird was stranded at second base as Bregman struck out and Katz grounded out to the pitcher.

Sixth inning - With one out, Laird singled. After Bregman flied out to centerfield, Katz walked. Rhymes flied out to centerfield to end the inning.

Ninth inning - With two out, Christian Ibarra walked. Pinch-runner Jared Foster moved to second on a pinch-hit single by Tyler Moore. Jones flied out to centerfield to end the inning.

Laird was the only LSU player to get two hits off UCLA starting pitcher Adam Plutko. Laird had a double and a single in three at-bats against Plutko. Laird was stranded at second base in both of the innings in which he had hits. Laird has hit safely in six consecutive games. He is 11-for26 during the hitting streak.

Aaron Nola did his job as he gave up no earned runs in eight innings. Errors by Ross and Bregman enabled UCLA to score runs in the sixth and eighth innings. Nola gave up five hits, walked one and struck out five as he was charged with his first loss of the season. The one negative about Nola's performance was his inability to get the leadoff batter out. The Bruins got their leadoff hitter on base in every inning from the fourth through the eighth. Two of those leadoff baserunners came around to score. The other three were stranded in scoring position due to clutch pitching by Nola. He struck out Kevin Williams with a runner on second and two out in the fourth. Nola struck out Brenton Allen with a runner on second and two out in the fifth. He got Cody Regis to ground out to Jones at second base with a runner on third and two out in the seventh.

Nick Rumbelow had the responsibility of keeping UCLA's lead at one run in the ninth. He promptly got into trouble when he struck out Williams, who reached first base on the pitch in the dirt. Williams got to second on a bunt. Rumbelow didn't allow the timely hit as he struck out Shane Zeile and Bono.

LSU has lost its first game in the College World Series for the seventh time. On three occasions, the Tigers lost their next game - 1994 to Fullerton State and 2003-04 to South Carolina. Twice, LSU won one elimination game - 1986 against Maine and 2008 against Rice. In 1989, the Tigers won games against Long Beach State and Miami before being eliminated. . .Jones, who had been sick Friday, was in the starting lineup. Jones, who batted eighth, was 0-for-3 with a walk. He had been 6-for-11 in his three previous games. . .Sean McMullen is now 0-for-11 since injuring his hamstring against Sam Houston State in the regional. . .Katz' homer was his 16th of the season. Katz was just 2-for-17 before he hit the home run. . .Rhymes, who went 0-for-4, had his hitting streak end at four games. . .Ibarra, who went 0-for-3, is now hitless in his last 14 official at-bats. . .Moore continued his clutch hitting with a pinch-hit single with two out in the ninth inning. . .The Tigers put the leadoff batter on base just once - in the ninth when Katz reached on an error by shortstop Pat Valaika. After squaring around and taking two pitches out of the strike zone, Rhymes hit into a 5-4-3 double play. . .The three-through-six batters in the lineup - Bregman, Katz, Rhymes and Ibarra - were a combined 1-for-14. . .Plutko gave up one run and run hits in seven innings. Set-up man James Kaprielian threw a perfect eighth. David Berg pitched a scoreless ninth to record his 22nd save. . .LSU was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. The outs were made by the Tigers' four best hitters - Bregman and Katz in the first, Rhymes in the sixth and Jones in the ninth. . .UCLA won despite going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position. . .Nola has allowed seven runs in three postseason starts. All of the runs have been unearned. . .Ross made an error in a second straight game. He had not made an error in LSU's first 65 games. . .Bregman's error was his 17th of the season. He has made four errors since his collision with Rhymes in the Jackson State regional game. . .The Tigers are now 13-9 when they score fewer than five runs in a game. LSU is 44-1 when it scores at least five runs. . .Sunday's game was only the fourth in the College World Series for the Tigers in which the winning team scored fewer than five runs. LSU beat Florida 2-1 in 1986 and lost to both Loyola Marymount and Maine 4-3 in 1986. . .LSU's record is 57-10. UCLA, whose record is 45-17, will play North Carolina State in a winners' bracket game Tuesday night. . .The attendance was 26,344.

Coach Paul Mainieri

"It was a tough, tough loss. That's for sure. There is nobody but good teams in this tournament and very little room for error. We've got to play a little better. All of our players would probably tell you we didn't play as well tonight as we could. UCLA put a lot of pressure on us. They slapped the ball on the ground and forced us to make a couple of plays. We just came up empty on those plays. We've got to go back to play good fundamental baseball. We get another chance on Tuesday.

(on taking the bunt off in ninth inning) "All year, I would have had Raph hit in that situation. He has had the propensity to hit into double plays. I was going to go ahead and bunt. Raph hadn't really swung the bat that well the whole game. I gave him the bunt sign for two pitches. Once the count got to 2-0, I knew Mason wouldn't get picked off and I figured (David) Berg would throw one in there assuming Raph was going to bunt. So, we decided to gamble and go with the hit-and-run. Raph hit it hard. It was just really bad luck. I gambled and it came up snake eyes."

(on Nola's outing) "We knew Aaron would give us a chance to win and he did. Unfortunately, we made a couple of misplays defensively which cost us dearly. Had we made all the plays for Aaron, they may not have scored. I thought it would take two or three runs to win the game. We were only able to scratch out one."

Mason Katz
"(Adam) Plutko is a fly-ball guy. He threw a lot up in the zone. He has a lot of back spin on his fast ball. He gets a ton of fly balls. We didn't make enough adjustments on that."

(on bouncing back from the loss) "I don't think anybody on our team wants to go home. That's about it. If we lose another one, our season is over. We've lost ten games this year. The only time we haven't bounced back was against South Carolina and we lost two in a row. You just flush it. You just take very day like it's a new day."

Aaron Nola
"It was really frustrating letting all those leadoff batters get on. But, that's happened to me before throughout the year. I battled as hard as I could until the last pitch. Unfortunately, we booted a couple of balls around."

LSU will play North Carolina in an elimination game Tuesday at 2 p.m. The Tar Heels (57-11) lost to North Carolina State 8-1 in a first-round game Sunday. Mainieri is undecided on the Tigers' starting pitcher.

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