San Diego State Aztecs mascot, Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The No. 10 UCLA baseball team will begin postseason play tonight against San Diego State in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional. The Bruins are hosting a Regional for the fourth consecutive season, and will look to advance to the College World Series for third time in that span.
To get you geared up for the tournament, Go Joe Bruin will preview each of the Bruins’ potential opponents in this weekend’s double-elimination format. The Aztecs are the opening game draw for UCLA, and will take on the host school at 6 PM PST tonight. Here’s a rundown of what SDSU brings to the table out of the Mountain West Conference.
San Diego State Aztecs
Overall Record: 31-29
Road Record: 12-17
Neutral Site Record: 4-1
Wins vs. Ranked Teams: 6 (sweeps of San Diego and Seton Hall)
All-Time Record vs. UCLA: 30-47-2
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 10 total (first since 2009)
Clearly San Diego State isn’t competing at an extremely elite level, but the Aztecs still have the pieces needed to put together a strong performance. Probable Friday starter Ryan Doran boasts an ERA of 2.63 to go with 84 strikeouts, marks good enough for second and third best in the Mountain West this season, respectively.
SDSU also has the top conference mark in stolen bases (Greg Allen, 23) and saves (Bubba Derby, 10), though those stats aren’t as impactful as some others.. With a team batting average of .274 and a combined 395 strikeouts (relative to 561 hit), the Aztecs offense is serviceable but not spectacular. If the hitters could pick up the slack, SDSU could be a much more formidable foe.
The key for UCLA in tonight’s game will be offense, as will be the case for most of the postseason. The Bruins pitching staff will do enough to keep it close, but the bats will have to come through and do some damage. San Diego State, led by Doran, will be looking to shut it down and give their offense a chance. UCLA can’t afford to fall into an early hole, giving the upset-minded Aztecs the confidence they need to steal a win.
Go Bruins! Beat SDSU!