In an emergency situation – regular starter Tyler Rahmatulla had gone down with a wrist injury – then-freshman Cody Regis moved from third to play second base in the 2010 College World Series.
Those six games in the pressure cooker of Omaha marked Regis’ last time playing second base for the Bruins until last Friday. With the emergence of sophomore third baseman Kevin Kramer, the senior may have found a home at second after starting 135 games in the past three seasons at the hot corner.
Still finding his rhythm at the plate after missing the first weekend of the season, Regis was tested early and often in Friday night’s game. Though he finished without a hit, Regis left a strong impression on coach John Savage.
“I said to the team right after the game, I thought he did a really good job of playing defense,” Savage said. “He hadn’t played second, I think, since the national championship game in 2010 and we needed him to step up and he did a terrific job.”
Regis got the assignment again at second on Saturday and Sunday, finishing 2-for-3 with two runs batted in at the plate in Saturday’s 4-2 win. He finished the weekend against Wright State without committing an error while combining on four double plays.
He’ll likely get another chance to test his new position tonight when the Bruins (8-2) travel to face the Long Beach State Dirtbags in their second midweek game of the year. Regis hopes to carry over some of the offensive success he experienced this past weekend.
“Baseball is a pretty tough game, especially on the offensive side. It’s a game of failure so I think the biggest thing is you can’t let that affect the other side of the ball, playing defense,” Regis said. “You’ve got to have a short memory and I’ve been struggling a little, turned it around a little bit, but I just think you can’t let it affect the way you play defense.”
UCLA finished a perfect 11-0 in midweek games last season, including a pair of wins over Long Beach State, largely on the strength of its pitching.
Freshman pitcher Cody Poteet will get the start again after earning the victory in the team’s first Tuesday game against UC Santa Barbara.
“They’re just as important as weekend games,” said junior shortstop Pat Valaika. “We’ve got to play well on the road and we play the game, not the opponent, so even though we’re playing one game it doesn’t matter – we just play our game.”
The Bruins’ success in Tuesday matchups is something they pride themselves on.
In addition to hoping his individual success will carry over from the weekend, Regis is excited to continue the team success the group has found in midweek games over the past few seasons.
“Last year, we didn’t lose one all year and I just think it’s a tradition we’ve started the last couple years, and we’re trying to keep ahold of that,” Regis said.