Title Town: UCLA Wins First College World Series
The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) has won more than 100 national titles in a variety of sports, but never in college baseball. That all changed on Tuesday when the Bruins dispatched Mississippi State, 8-0, to win its 109th national championship.
Winning it All
UCLA has longed played in the baseball shadow of its archival, USC, itself a 12-time college world series winner. While the Trojans did not qualify for post-season play, the Bruins did and went 5-0 in Omaha. UCLA won Monday’s game, 3-1, setting up the first of two possible double-elimination games.
Ultimately, it was pitching that defined the Bruin’s run through the post season. In its final eight games, UCLA’s arms gave up just seven runs. For the Bulldogs, the loss kept the university from attaining what it still has never achieved: a national championship.
UCLA’s victory officially brought the 2012-2013 academic sports calendar to a close. The sports calendar begins in late August with the kickoff of the college football season and ends in late June with the College World Series. A softball College World Series is also played with Oklahoma claiming its national championship on June 5.
Besides winning its first national baseball championship, UCLA enjoyed several other highlights that marked its season.
First, the Bruins overcame a third-place Pac 12 finish which had it behind Oregon State and Oregon this year. UCLA won an at-large berth to join three other Pac 12 teams in the field of 64.
Second, UCLA made the most of the year by completing its regular season with a win over Stanford before closing out a 10-0 post-season run. It won all three NCAA Regional games at Jackie Robinson Stadium, its home turf, before heading on to the Super Regionals where it vanquished Cal State Fullerton twice to punch its ticket to Omaha.
Third, UCLA closer David Berg set a pair of records this year. He became the first player in NCAA history to play in 50 games in two consecutive seasons. He is also was credited with 24 saves, an NCAA record.
In all, UCLA has turned around a baseball program that had once been defined by its losing ways. In 2010, the Bruins got their first taste of CWS success by advancing to the championship series where it lost twice to South Carolina. In 2012, UCLA won its opening CWS game before being sent home following back-to-back losses. This year’s team overcame the odds and has brought well-deserved title redemption to the City of Angels.
See Also — Road to Omaha: College Baseball 2013