After their most successful season in program history, the UCLA baseball team has a chance to make even more history as they enter the postseason as the overall no. 1 seed.
Back in 2013, the UCLA baseball team had finished the regular season with a record of 39-17. They entered the postseason winning ten straight games, leading to their first national championship in program history.
Over the weekend, the Bruins finished their most successful regular season in program history with a record of 47-8, captured their 12th Pac-12 Championship and landed the no. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. That is quite the weekend.
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These results are not a fluke. UCLA has dominated the college baseball landscape with a fantastic performance by their bats, defense and their pitching. Currently, the Bruins have a team batting average of .294, good for 30th in the nation. They are in the top ten in fielding, hits allowed through nine innings and shutouts. And if you think that is good, wait until you take a look at their pitching.
UCLA is first in WHIP (1.06), fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.12), and sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.5). But their most impressive stat is their team ERA, a nation-leading 2.59.
This season, it was expected that the Bruins would have a strong pitching core, but injuries looked like it would hold them back. The biggest concern was Ryan Garcia, who missed the first 12 games of the season due to injury. The Bruins already had several reliable replacements, but the heat got turned up once Garcia got back into the rotation.
Garcia came back stronger than ever and dominated every time he hit the mound. On the season, he boasted an impressive 9-0 record, but what is even more mind blowing is the fact that he has the fifth best ERA in the country, 1.42. With that kind of production, it is no wonder why the Bruins are where they are at.
This regular season, which started with a lot of question marks, has ended with even more exclamation marks. And it is not over. Now the real competition steps up.
UCLA has been at the top of the D1 Baseball standings for ten straight weeks, helping them to claim the top spot in the NCAA Tournament. And not to look too far into the future, but this momentum could help the Bruins lift another national title, but there is a lot of work to do before that happens.
Still, in the postseason it is all about the team that gets hot at the right time. For UCLA, they have not stopped being the hottest team in the nation, and there is no sign of them cooling off. But they will need to dig deeper for a few more weeks. Now is when we will see what this team is made of.