UCLA lacks momentum heading into Game 2

OMAHA, Neb. -- UCLA baseball finds itself down 1-0 following Monday night's loss to South Carolina in Game 1 of the College World Series final round.

Call it "the unenviable position."

Particularly because Monday night's 7-1 defeat felt more like a 20-0 drubbing. South Carolina did everything right, outhitting UCLA 14-3 and roughing up Gerrit Cole -- all as the supposed underdog.

Not many were around to catch the Bruins' lone run and two of their three hits in the ninth. By then, a majority of the 23,181 in attendance had streamed out of Rosenblatt Stadium.

"Anybody would have the momentum up 1-0," Savage said. "That's baseball. That's the way it is. That's how series work. They're certainly up a game, and it's their advantage right now, but, you know, that's why we're playing [Tuesday]."

UCLA has been in this position before. The Bruins lost the first game of the Los Angeles Super Regional to Cal State Fullerton before winning the last two to advance. That, combined with the fact that the team dropped only two series all year, reminds UCLA that it can bounce back in tonight's Game 2, which begins at 4:30 p.m. PT.

"We never felt we were totally out of [Monday's game]," catcher Steve Rodriguez said. "Even that last inning -- bases loaded, nobody out -- we were a couple hits away from getting right back into it and putting a little more pressure on them."

Perhaps playing their cards close to vest, neither coach committed to a starting pitcher for tonight's match-up. Savage suggested junior left-hander Rob Rasmussen might take the hill, suggesting it likely won't be sophomore Trevor Bauer, who made 135 pitches in a win Saturday.

South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner wasn't 100 percent sure either.

"We will do our normal routine and chat it up a little bit and 'philosophy' along the way," he said before drawing some laughs from reporters. "I think it will probably be a left-hander."