UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole turned down the New York Yankees to pitch for UCLA, but he couldn’t turn back the Gamecocks.
The South Carolina Gamecocks gained a one game lead in the College World Series after a 7-1 win over the UCLA Bruins. UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole gave up six runs, four of them earned, on 11 hits, the most he has given up in 33 career starts. It also marked the most hits allowed by one pitcher in a game of the CWS finals. Meanwhile USC pitcher Blake Cooper (13-2) matched a CWS finals record with 10 strikeouts as he tossed eight innings of three-hit ball and didn’t walk a batter or give up a run until the ninth.
South Carolina struck first in the opening frame with a pair of runs. Centerfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. laid down a two-out bunt and beat the throw for a base hit. First baseman Christian Walker moved Bradley to third with a bloop single to right-center and designated hitter Brady Thomas’ check-swing single fell just inside the leftfield line to plate Bradley. It looked like the Bruins would get out of the inning with a routine grounder, but UCLA second baseman Cody Regis booted the ball, allowing Walker to score for the 2-0 lead.
The Gamecocks added to their lead in each of the next two innings, scoring one in the second and two in the third to go up 5-0. Second baseman Scott Wingo tripled then scored on leftfielder Evan Marzilli’s base hit to right field in the second. In the third, South Carolina loaded the bases before Haney’s rightfield single drove in a pair of runs.
Haney’s sacrifice fly in the fifth and rightfielder Whit Merrifield’s RBI-single in the eighth tacked on two more insurance runs for the Gamecocks, widening the lead to 7-0.
After UCLA got its first hit in the fifth, Cooper retired 11 in a row before giving up a leadoff single in the ninth. The Bruins loaded the bases and scored their lone run on a double play before a fly ball ended the game.