Once again playing with the smallest of leads Friday night, it wasn't hard to guess what UCLA was going to do when Eric Filia reached on a North Carolina error to start the sixth inning and when Brian Carroll walked leading off the seventh.
Both times UCLA coach John Savage decided to bunt the runner over to second.
Both times the Bruins successfully carried out the sacrifice and ultimately got that lead runner around to score, helping turn a 1-0 lead into a 4-0 advantage.
So say what you will about the .248 season batting average, the two extra-base hits at the College World Series and the eight runs in three games in Omaha. UCLA has heard all that already.
But Savage is OK with measuring some of the Bruins' success with how they have advanced runners and taken advantage of limited chances in their run to the CWS championship series at TD Ameritrade Park.
“We're doing a good job,” Savage said Saturday. “There's no doubt. They've been precise. They get a sign and they commit to it and they execute. That's all you can ask out of a team.”
UCLA has moved runners via the sacrifice seven times in three CWS games. Six Bruins have done it at least once. And that total is now at 71 for the season.
Cleanup hitter Pat Valaika said the team knows by now how it works.
“I think we've definitely played our game, and I think the park kind of fits into what we try to do,” Valaika said. “We're not a home run-hitting team — we don't even have that many doubles — but we try to just get runners on and move them over, and get a single and score them.
“That's always how we've done it all year and that's what we've got to continue doing. Because at TD, you put the ball in the air and it's not going anywhere.”
The onus is on getting the runners home when they're out there, which UCLA (47-17) was able to do as it beat North Carolina 4-1 Friday night.
Cody Regis delivered a two-out RBI single in the second inning that bounced between the Tar Heels' first and second basemen. Pat Gallagher and Kevin Williams followed a Valaika sacrifice in the sixth with back-to-back one-out singles, the latter scoring Filia for a 2-0 lead.