The Bruins’ team ERA dipped to 2.75, which trails only Texas. The performance, and the year-long mound mastery for the No. 5-ranked Bruins (30-7), added to the reputation for cultivating quality arms that Savage first became famous for as the pitching coach to UCI head man Mike Gillespie during Gillespie’s tenure at USC.
Gillespie wasn’t worried so much about UCLA pitching as he was the umpires’ impact on his own hurlers, the first four of which were freshmen.
Gillespie argued a balk call against reliever Ruben Orosco in the fourth inning and kept right on chirping, mostly about the strike-zone judgment of home-plate ump Ramon Armendariz.
Gillespie’s protests about ball and strike calls eventually earned him an ejection with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Gillespie’s early exit meant he missed the Anteaters’ lone scoring rally.
Senior second baseman Casey Stevenson singled with two outs in the eighth and came around to score on junior third baseman Brian Hernandez’s booming double to right-center field.
Hernandez’s RBI chased Claypool, who might be one of the best midweek starters in college baseball.
“He’s pretty good,” Savage said of Claypool, who improved to 6-1 and has limited opposing hitters to a .179 average in 55 1/3 innings this season.