YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Cody Regis gets the big hit as UCLA defeats TCU, 6-2

Bruins are one victory away from advancing to College World Series.

June 09, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • Catcher Tyler Heineman and pitcher David Berg celebrate UCLA's 6-2 win against TCU.
Catcher Tyler Heineman and pitcher David Berg celebrate UCLA's 6-2… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

It has been a frustrating season for Cody Regis.

He performed below his own expectations and watched this week as major league teams drafted six other Bruins juniors while his name went uncalled.

"Pretty gut-wrenching," he said. "I was so happy for my teammates, but not the best couple days of my life."

Regis, however, is a proven player in big postseason situations, and he did it again Friday night in UCLA's super regional opener against Texas Christian.

Regis' three-run double in the sixth inning was the decisive blow in the Bruins' 6-2 victory at Jackie Robinson Stadium, which put UCLA one victory away from advancing to the College World Series for the second time in three years.

Regis batted .312 and hit nine homers as a freshman, but his average dropped to .284 last season and he entered Friday's game at .253 with only 22 RBIs — half as many as he produced in each of his first two seasons.

"He put pressure on himself," UCLA Coach John Savage said. "It's junior-itis, draft-itis."

Regis admitted as much — "It's hard to put it out of your mind" — but the Bruins' first baseman was confident when TCU, trailing 3-2, walked pinch-hitter Brenton Allen to load the bases and set up a possible double play.

Regis had homered in 2010 regional games against Louisiana State and UC Irvine, twice in a super regional against Cal State Fullerton and in the World Series against TCU.

And he calmly drilled a 2-2 pitch into the gap in left-center field, clearing the bases.

"That," Savage said, "was very similar to the guy we know."

Bruins starter Adam Plutko, Regis' former Glendora High teammate, was not as sharp as he was last week in a two-hit shutout against Creighton, but the sophomore kept TCU from inflicting serious damage.

Plutko (11-3) gave up solo home runs in the first and third innings and pitched with runners on base in every inning. Those, however, were the only runs he gave up before David Berg replaced him after an infield single to start the eighth.

TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan (4-5) had mostly neutralized UCLA, giving up a run and three singles in the second inning but retiring the next nine batters.

The sixth inning began with Finnegan walking Tyler Heineman and then hitting Cody Keefer with a pitch, bringing up Jeff Gelalich, who homered twice in last week's regional final.

Finnegan's first pitch to Gelalich was a ball, so TCU Coach Jim Schlossnagle pulled him in favor of Justin Sharf, a right-hander with a submarine delivery, who won two games and saved another last week in a regional at College Station, Texas.

Sharf's first offering hit Gelalich, loading the bases for Trevor Brown, the Bruins' leading run producer. Brown hit the first pitch he saw up the middle for a single that tied the score, 2-2.

Pat Valaika drove in the go-ahead run with a groundout, and TCU intentionally walked Allen.

But then Regis came through.

"I'd rather have it late than never," he said, laughing.

TCU players did not seem deflated. The Horned Frogs also lost their regional opener last weekend.

"We kind of feel like we're right where we need to be," Schlossnagle said.

Los Angeles Times Articles