Carson Yates entered the NCAA Tournament with five homers all season. Suddenly he became a power hitter – and the timing couldn’t have been better for the UCLA baseball team.
Yates’ ninth-inning solo shot on Sunday, his third home run in the last three games, propelled UCLA over Florida State 2-1 to temporarily keep the Bruins alive in the Auburn area.
UCLA, the No. 2 seed, however, has little time to rest. He will face top seeded Auburn (39-19) at 4 p.m. Sunday in another up for grabs game, then must beat the Tigers again in a rematch on Monday. The winner of this match advances to the Super Regionals.
Auburn, the 14th-ranked national seed, has roamed the region so far, beating Southeast Louisiana 19-7 on Friday and Florida State 21-7 on Saturday.
The Bruins survived a pitching duel between UCLA’s Kelly Austin and Florida State’s Jonah Scolaro to avoid elimination, with the score tied 1-1 going into the ninth.
Florida State’s Jaime Ferrer smashed a rolling ball into the area over the left field wall to give the Seminoles a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Prior to that home run, Austin had held Florida State 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and five hits.
But Kyle Karros tied the game for UCLA on the first pitch of the seventh inning by Scolaro, weaving it just past the bottom of the big left field wall.
Alonzo Tredwell closed the game for UCLA with two scoreless innings.
Both teams were held scoreless for five innings as both starters were effective and efficient. Austin allowed one run on six hits, throwing 90 pitches and striking out six. Scolaro struck out nine Bruins on 92 shots, two career highs. He allowed one run on five hits in 6.1 innings.
UCLA’s first two batters reached the second inning, but Scolaro knocked out Carson Yates before pulling out Darius Perry and Kenny Oyama.
The Bruins chased Scolaro out of the game in the seventh after Karros’ home run and put the runners second and third with two outs against the Florida State bullpen, but Cody Schrier pulled out for end the frame. In the eighth, UCLA had runners at first and third with two outs, but Daylen Reyes flew to center.
UCLA beat Southeast Louisiana 16-2 on Saturday to advance to the losing streak, while Florida State fell after a 21-7 loss to Auburn.