Reactions: Cole smokes Horned Frogs
OMAHA, Neb. -- After his team had beaten Texas' arms in the Austin Super Regional, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said he wasn't worried about the pitchers the Horned Frogs would face in the College World Series.
UCLA starter Gerrit Cole challenged that notion Monday night with an eight-inning, 13-strikeout performance.
"He's one of the best in the country," Cole said. "And he showed that tonight. I mean, he threw all pitches for strikes and kept us off balance all night. ... We didn't barrel up as many balls as we could. I thought we battled a bunch of counts both early and late. But, you know, he had all of his pitches working for him."
UCLA coach John Savage said Cole was "as solid as you can be" Monday. He even managed to best Trevor Bauer's great start Saturday.
Bauer had 11 strikeouts while only giving up six hits and three runs. Cole outperformed the first two numbers while matching Bauer's three runs allowed.
"[The pitching staff] competes against each other," Savage said. "That's what our pitching staff has done all year."
Savage had a long talk on the mound in the eighth inning after Cole walked TCU catcher Bryan Holaday.
"I was about to take him out with two outs in the eighth and he said, 'Coach, trust me. I trust you. I think I can get this guy,'" Savage said. "And the next pitch, the inning was over."
On that pitch, Holaday was tagged out at second on a fielder's choice.
Cole said that despite his strong start (one hit in his first six innings pitched), he was expecting TCU to climb back in.
"TCU is a good offense," Cole said. "You look at their numbers, you're pretty impressed. It was just a matter of time, I guess, before they put [in] a few good hacks."
Cole, who turned down a possible fortune from the MLB draft to go to UCLA, said walking off the mound in the eighth inning in Omaha made it all worthwhile.
"That defines my goal coming into college," Cole said. "To come to Rosenblatt in the final year, playing in the College World Series, even if you go 0-2, you can't really ask for anything more."
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