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June 19, 2010

Beau Amaral

Trevor Bauer

Niko Gallego

John Savage


UCLA – 11
Florida - 3

THE MODERATOR: Now joined by members of the UCLA Bruins. We're joined by Niko Gallego, Beau Amaral, and starting pitcher Trevor Bauer. And we're joined by head coach John Savage. Coach, opening statement.
COACH SAVAGE: Obviously the team is very excited. We obviously have been playing good baseball. We were battle-tested at the end of the season, and I think you saw that tonight.
We got off to a rough start. They got the two runs early. We were scuffling on defense a little bit. New guys in some new spots, and I think you could see that. The first three innings, I think we were a little -- I wouldn't call it nervous, I think probably overexcited. And then we settled down. I thought Trevor would do that.
And we had 15 singles out of 18 hits. We pecked away at them. We didn't have a home run all night, but it was a typical game offensively for us in terms of we used the middle field. We had a bunch of singles. We had some stolen bases.
We kept coming -- we had two outs, nobody on. We scored a run. And I think we wore their starting pitcher down a little bit. And then we got to their bullpen. So we know we haven't done anything yet in terms of this tournament. I told the team that, but it was a good way to start the tournament, certainly. And Trevor was outstanding, gave us seven strong innings.
And Eric did the last two. So we're very proud of what we did, and it's on to the next game on Monday against a very good TCU team.

Q. Coach, talk about going with Bauer over Cole, and was that a tough decision for you, or was it a no-brainer given his success on Saturday?
COACH SAVAGE: No, it was a tough decision. Gerrit started off Friday. All season long, that's the one thing -- we've been very consistent. We've been very disciplined I think on the pitching side of it all season long. We kind of know our roles. We just felt, we kind of went with a hunch, kind of went with the matchup. It could have backfired, I guess you could say. But we know we have a bunch of number ones, so we really don't designate a 1, 2, or 3. Rob Rasmussen is one of the best pitchers in the country. So we'll start Gerrit on Monday, but Trevor upheld his end of the deal, and now we are moving on.

Q. Beau or Niko, how are you able to hit the ball so well and so consistently for nine innings?
NIKO GALLEGO: Going into it, we had an approach taking the fastball away and staying with it up the middle, middle to right side of the field. But I think we just saw the ball well. And he's a great pitcher and we knew he was a great pitcher. And we just tried to battle them, that's what we did.
BEAU AMARAL: I think tonight the big thing was just staying relaxed as a team. It's tough to do. A lot of excitement going on. But after first couple of innings, I think we were able to settle down and look for what we wanted and be able to capitalize on it.

Q. Trevor, just talk a little bit about what stuff was working for you, what allowed you to settle in. Seemed like after those first couple of innings, you got out of that second inning jam, looked like you settled in. I think you only had three base runners after that. What allowed you to settle in there?
TREVOR BAUER: Well, early, I didn't have a feel for anything but my curveball the first couple of innings, so it was a little bit tough. Definite battle out there going up against such a good offense as they have.
Came in after the 2nd, talked to Coach. Made a little mechanical adjustment. And I kind of stayed on the glove a little more with my front side. And after that I could command my fastball good. So kind of settled in after that, pitching off the fastball.

Q. Niko, so much is written always about the UCLA pitching staff. I know you've answered this question all season long. But does the offense ever have a chip on its shoulder? Do you think they underestimated you at all?
NIKO GALLEGO: No, I mean, there's team chemistry there. We know that there's two sides of the ball. They do what they do on their side and we're going to do what we do on our side. We think our pitchers are pretty good, and we know they're pretty good, and we've seen it every day.
We enjoy watching them. I mean, we did hit them pretty well in the fall, I thought. Got to you a little bit in the fall.

Q. Trevor, did you have to make any mental adjustments pitching tonight as opposed to being in the No. 2 spot that you're used to?
TREVOR BAUER: Yes and no. It's definitely tougher leading off, first game jitters. Obviously playing in such a great venue here. And you kind of get a game under your belt and you feel more relaxed. You've kind of gone through it once.
But not really. For me, it was more of just another game, trying to execute pitches, go one at a time, and let the results be what they were. I just wanted to go out and give my team a chance to win.

Q. Trevor, first of all, how does it feel to have the first win in your program's history? And then, second, if you could talk a little bit about the history of that well-traveled-looking hat of yours.
TREVOR BAUER: Well, to be quite honest, I didn't even know that this was our first win in program history. Maybe I should have. But, yeah, definitely for the program and for the team, it's a good accomplishment. And like Coach said earlier, though, it's not done and we've got practice coming up and a game on Monday against an outstanding TCU team. So kind of gotta get our focus there.
As for the hat, I don't like hats that stick up in the corners. They make you look like a conductor. (Laughter). So when I find a hat that fits and the corners get pushed down, I tend to stick with it. So this one fits. And the corners don't stick up, and I've stuck with it.

Q. John, can you break down Trevor's outing from your point of view?
COACH SAVAGE: Well, he hit it on the head. I think he lacked fastball command early. Overthrowing a little bit. And then he settled in. He's had some rough starts in terms of kind of getting going. So it wasn't unusual, really. They did a good job with the left-hander, you know, with the base hit with two outs.
But his stuff always shows up. I mean, he's a tremendous young pitcher. We knew that he would settle in, he'd find his release point, find his mechanics. He's done that all season.
So he really limits the damage. If he could limit the damage early like he did tonight, I think he threw six innings, gave up the home run to Adams on the 3-1 pitch. But he's as good as advertised. I thought his stuff was very good. He's a strikeout pitcher. He has got several pitches he can strike out with, and I think he proved that tonight.

Q. Coach and Niko, talk about Tyler and his heartbreak about not being able to play tonight. And then, Niko, to you, talk about what he was able to do from the dugout and from his, I don't know, cheerleader perspective, whatever you want to call it.
COACH SAVAGE: Every member in our program is with us, regardless if they're in the lineup or they're out of the lineup or if they're not in uniform.
And we've preached that all season long. We had to bring 27 players here and leave eight players at home that worked just as hard as these guys. That's just the rules. So in terms of Rahmatulla, I was heartbroken for him. The guy was such a big part of our team. Started 61 games, hit third all year on a World Series team.
So he knows that he still has opportunities to come back as a player, as a junior and a senior, and we talked about that on one-on-one. And he knows what -- I spoke with Cody Keefer about that as well. I mean, he was a big part of this team as well, and he's been hurt.
So Rahmy is with us with every pitch. He's in uniform. He's on the 27-man. We only have 26 eligible players, but we felt it was very important that he was part of that 27-man.
NIKO GALLEGO: Rahmatulla has done a great job all year long. We all know that. And, you know, for those if you who know him, he's a great guy. And he feels terrible. But he knew that he could still contribute. And that's what he's done. He's taken Regis under his wing. They sat together on the plane and sitting together on the bus. We're taking ground balls first thing, and Rahmy is right out there with him. And looks great. It's great for him and it's great for Cody. He starts feeling a little more comfortable and that's what we got to get Cody to do. And I think Rahmy's done a great job getting him to feel comfortable.

Q. John, your traffic on the base path and running a little bit, what effect did you see that have on their starting pitcher and their relievers too?
COACH SAVAGE: I think if you change their pitch pattern a little bit. They had to pitch a little differently. We did steal some bases. There again, there's a ton of credit that goes to Coach Vanderhook. I think he's one of the best offensive minds in the country. He's proven that over the years, a long, long time.
And he likes to push the ball. He likes to push the tempo. I mean, he's aggressive. He's a gambler. Doesn't always work. But he's a very good baseball mind. He doesn't ask these guys to do something they can't do.
It doesn't always work. I mean, sometimes you know we certainly can -- it could backfire, but I think a lot of it has to go to the credit to Coach Vanderhook. But back to the game, I think it got them out of sync a little bit. I don't think they're used to that.
But they can do that to us as well. So just one of our nights that we happened to run and we're successful and it put some pressure on the defense.

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