USC infielder in between pitches at UCLA, Credit: Jeff Poirier

UCLA vs. USC: The Landscape of LA College Baseball

Asst. Coach T.J. Bruce (2), USC vs UCLA, Photo Credit: Jeff Poirier

For the better part of always, Southern Cal has been the collegiate baseball powerhouse of Los Angeles.

After all,  the Trojans’ program is the most storied in history with its 12 national championships and 21 College World Series appearances. The dozen titles is far and away the most ever, and the 21 trips to Omaha ties ‘SC for the 4th-highest mark in the nation, so there’s not much to argue there.

And when you compare those numbers to UCLA baseball’s all-time resume (4 CWS, zero titles), it becomes pretty obvious how big the disparity is.

Then there’s the all-time head-to-head series between the Trojans and Bruins, which favors the former by a jaw-dropping margin of 253-127. Taken at face value, it’s hard to slice it any other way—USC baseball is king of the Southland.

But when you dig a little deeper, the story takes a new shape.

Since the turn of the millennium, the UCLA and USC programs have been moving in opposite directions on the bell curve. The Bruins have made the NCAA Tournament eight times since 2000, compared to just 10 appearances in all of the 20th century. The trend towards success has paid off for the Bruins, as they’ve been lucky enough to host regionals each of the past three seasons—and they appear on pace for a fourth this year.

For the Trojans, the script is flipped. After earning 32 regional bids last century, Southern Cal has just four NCAA appearances in the new one, including a current 7-year dry spell.

And in regards to championships, ‘SC has won just one CWS title in the last 35 years. So despite a streak of monumental dominance in the 70’s where the Trojans claimed seven crowns in 11 years, the prestige of Southern Cal baseball isn’t hugely relevant today. USC fans are always quick to use this logic regarding Bruins basketball, so it’s only fair to return the favor.

The bottom line is this—UCLA baseball is on the rise and ‘SC baseball is heading nowhere fast. Under the command of 9th-year head coach John Savage, the Bruins are 20-9 against the Trojans, and have come out winners in 20 of the last 25 pairings.

So far this season, UCLA is 34-15 and contending for the Pac-12 title, while Southern Cal is 19-30 with little to play for. The Bruins defeated the Trojans. 6-1, in a non-conference meeting earlier this season in the Dodgertown Classic. And if the teams’ respective trends continue this weekend, UCLA will be collecting two or three more rivalry wins in the next few days/

UCLA vs. USC is an old and storied rivalry, but the baseball diamond has long been dominated by the Trojans. Today, however, the winds of change are blowing. The Bruins, as both a team and a program, are poised to take the next step towards greatness, while Southern Cal sits stuck in neutral. If UCLA can pull off a sweep at Dedeaux Field this weekend, it’ll be another log for the fire burning down Troy.

Go Bruins! Beat Southern Cal!

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Tags: College Baseball Ucla Baseball UCLA Bruins Usc Trojans

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