HOUSTON–I’ll have a detailed breakdown on the Kendal Volz-Gerrit Cole duel shortly (hint: it lived up to its billing), but first I wanted to share a special moment: I just witnessed my first triple play in person, at least at the college level.
Trailing 3-0 in the top of the eighth, UCLA was finally starting to rally with Volz out of the game, replaced by righty Willie Kempf. The Bruins got one run home and had runners at first and second with no outs for cleanup hitter Cody Decker. Decker hit a line drive to first baseman Dustin Dickerson’s right, and Dickerson made a diving catch. Everyone on the field (maybe even Dickerson) seemed confused whether or not the ball had been caught, but Dickerson alertly threw to second base to double off Eddie Murray (who was nearly to third by this point). Bears shortstop Joey Hainsfurther then relayed the ball to Kempf, who was covering first base, to triple off a befuddled Casey Haerther (who was standing a few feet from the bag shrugging, unsure whether or not to return to first or run to second).
Score it a 3-6-1 triple play, the first for the Bears since April 27, 1996 at Rice. It came at an opportune time, nipping a late-game Bruins ralley in the bud.
(EDIT) I just spoke with UCLA coach John Savage, and needless to say the triple play was the first thing he talked about.
"He caught the ball, but there was no vocal (signal), and none of our baserunners knew what happened–it was mass confusion," Savage said. "You know, it’s a tough play–it’s a triple play in the eighth inning and you’re down by two. But that’s baseball. It’s a tough one to take, though."
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