LOS ANGELES -- The elimination-game magic finally ran out on TCU.
After rallying to win four consecutive elimination games that would have made a Hollywood screenwriter proud, the Horned Frogs' postseason run ended with a two-game sweep by UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Bruins (47-14) defeated TCU 4-1 on Saturday night in the Los Angeles Super Regional to earn their second trip to the College World Series in three years. TCU (40-22) was hoping to force a Game 3, but the Frogs' offense, so prolific in the regional last weekend, ran into a Bruin pitching buzz saw.
"Every mistake we made, every opportunity they created for themselves, they cashed in on it and that's what good baseball teams do," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "Considering where we were a month and a half ago, to be at this point, is something I'm very proud of."
UCLA starter Nick Vander Tuig (10-3) held the Frogs to five hits and left with a three-run lead after walking Jantzen Witte to start the seventh. David Berg, who was superb in two innings of relief Friday night, came on to finish the game for UCLA with one on and no outs in the seventh. He forced two groundouts and struck out Josh Gonzales to strand Witte at third base.
Berg held the Frogs to two hits the last three innings to earn his first save of the season.
UCLA led 2-0 after Trevor Brown tripled to the right-field corner with one out in the second and scored on a sacrifice fly, and two singles and a sacrifice bunt scored a run in the third.
Brance Rivera's solo homer in the third pulled the Frogs to within 2-1.
The Bruins threatened again in the fourth after a one-out triple against starter Preston Morrison, but Andrew Mitchell, coming out of the bullpen for the first time this season, recorded two strikeouts to end the inning.
Mitchell retired the first six batters he faced but ran into trouble in the sixth.
A one-out double by Jeff Gelalich and single by Brown gave UCLA runners on the corners for Pat Valaika. After a walk loaded the bases, Mitchell had an 0-2 count on Cody Regis, the Bruins' Friday night hero.
But catcher Josh Elander missed a high outside fastball and Gelalich scored easily on the passed ball to give UCLA a 3-1 edge. Mitchell finished with four strikeouts but allowed two unearned runs and walked three in 3 2/3 innings.
Kaleb Merck replaced Mitchell with a 2-0 count on the leadoff hitter in the eighth. Merck held the Bruins scoreless the final two innings.
The Frogs had scoring opportunities but failed to come up with a clutch hit. Gonzales doubled with one out in the fifth, but Rivera grounded out and Keaton Jones flew out, stranding Gonzales at third.
Kyle Von Tungeln led off the sixth with a single, but Elander hit into a double play and Kevin Cron struck out for the third time.
"Their pitching just shut us down. We had some good swings but not a lot to show for it except some home runs," TCU's Witte said. [David] Berg is just lights out, he's unreal. Whatever adjustments we could have made, we still haven't found them out. You just have to give him credit."