Po­teet steps up, Bru­ins stay in it

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Chris Foster chris.foster@la­times.com Twit­ter: @cfos­ter­la­times

Cody Po­teet was handed UCLA’s base­ball sea­son Sun­day af­ter­noon.

The ju­nior, who was mak­ing his post­sea­son de­but, was in charge of keep­ing the Bru­ins alive in the NCAA tour­na­ment. Heady stuff for a guy who had not pitched in a post­sea­son.

By the time Po­teet was done, he was ex­pe­ri­enced. His 51⁄3 score­less innings put UCLA on the path to a 9-1 victory over Cal State Bak­ers­field in the UCLA re­gional at Jackie Robin­son Sta­dium.

It got the Bru­ins (44-15) to Sun­day night’s game against Mary­land (41-21). UCLA, the top-seeded team in the tour­na­ment, needed to beat the Ter­rap­ins on Sun­day and Mon­day to ad­vance to a su­per re­gional.

UCLA led Mary­land, 4-2, through seven innings at press time.

“Cody bat­tled and found him­self a lit­tle bit,” Coach John Sav­age said. “He sur­vived. We’re in sur­vival mode.”

UCLA scored five runs in the sev­enth in­ning and three in the eighth to give the game a we-had-it-easy look. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

Po­teet and the Bru­ins nursed a 1-0 lead with their sea­son hang­ing on each pitch.

“I wanted to make pitches and stay out there a lit­tle while,” Po­teet said.

He took with him lessons learned from other UCLA pitch­ers who had han­dled the post­sea­son pres­sure.

“They went out and tried to be con­sis­tent,” Po­teet said. “They didn’t try to be su­per­men.”

Po­teet gave up only three hits, but walked four bat­ters and hit two, and spent most of the game pitch­ing from the stretch.

His first three innings were treach­er­ous, as he walked four bat­ters and hit one. Yet, when he needed to make a pitch, he did. And when he needed the Bru­ins to make a play, they did.

In the first in­ning, Po­teet hit lead­off bat­ter Jordie Hein and walked David Met­z­gar one out later. He got out of the in­ning by get­ting Solo­man Wil­liams to hit into a dou­ble play.

With two on and two out in the third in­ning, Wil­liams lined a sin­gle to right field and Drew Seel­man tried to score from sec­ond base. Right fielder Kort Peter­son’s one-hop throw beat Seel­man to the plate by 10 feet.

Cal State Bak­ers­field (37-24-1) stranded eight run­ners.

UCLA’s of­fense, stif led into sub­mis­sion in a 4-1 loss to Mary­land on Satur­day night, con­tin­ued to lurch along. Kevin Kramer hit the sec­ond pitch of the game for his sev­enth home run and the Bru­ins lived off that through six innings.

In the sev­enth, an er­ror by short­stop Mylz Jones led to five un­earned runs and seemed to loosen things up for the Bru­ins. They had four hits in six-plus innings be­fore the er­ror and nine af­ter it.

With two on and two outs, Brett Stephens hit a grounder right at Jones, who had the ball go throw his glove. Dar­rell Miller Jr. scored for a 2-0 lead. Ty Moore fol­lowed by launch­ing a 2-and-1 pitch well be­yond the right-field fence. Chris Keck had a run-scor­ing dou­ble in the in­ning.

Lawrence K. Ho Los An­ge­les Times

DAR­RELL MILLER JR., left, is greeted by UCLA team­mates af­ter scor­ing in the sec­ond in­ning against Mary­land. The Bru­ins led, 4-2, through seven innings.

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