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A Bruin batting against a Trojan during a Crosstown Rivalry game at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Westwood. Photo courtesy of pac-12.com

 

CHECKING OUT WHAT’S UP IN SOCAL COLLEGE BASEBALL THIS YEAR

When I first began this site, I promised myself that when it came to covering baseball  I wouldn’t focus on just the Dodgers and the Angels.

I think I’ve done a decent job of that, what with reporting on the annual clash that UCLA and USC partakes in at Dodger Stadium each spring and checking out that CIF playoff game at Culver City High School last year.

As part of that “decent job”, I wanted to look at some of the college teams in SoCal having good seasons as the playoffs and the College World Series are just around the corner.

To be honest, in some ways I prefer college baseball over their major league counterparts;

  • It’s pure baseball rather than the sometimes circus atmosphere of Dodger Stadium or Angel Stadium,
  • Speaking of atmosphere, college baseball offer a more intimate one as the ballparks rarely seat more than 2,500; you don’t get that cramped feeling like you can at the big league stadiums.
  • Unlike their football and basketball counterparts, the players are more in it for the love of the game as with only 11.7 scholarships available per team, which averages 30 players, unless they get financial aid or grants they are footing at least half of their tuition – which is a lot of money at private schools like Loyola Marymount or USC.

So let’s get started with these looks at college baseball with my alma mater…

 

 

UCLA players congratulating each other during a win at Arizona State. Photo courtesy of uclabruins.com

 

UCLA BRUINS

Won-Loss Records: 17-16, 9-6 and tied for 2nd place in the Pac-12 Conference

Coach: John Savage, 13th year

Most Recent Game: Beat Long Beach State, 2-1, in 11 innings on April 18th

Next Games: vs top-ranked Oregon State, April 21-23

Top Hitter: Sean Bouchard, Jr, 1B/OF – .331 average, 6 home runs, 24 RBI

Top Pitchers:

Griffin Canning, Jr: 3-2, 2.77 ERA

Jake Bird, Jr: 4-0, 2.79 ERA

 

 

 

USC’s baseball team before a game. Photo courtesy of usctrojans.com

 

USC TROJANS

Won-Loss Records: 18-17, 5-7 and tied for 7th place in the Pac-12 Conference

Coach: Ken Hubbs, 5th year

Most Recent Game: Lost to UC Irvine, 14-3, on April 18th

Next Games: at California, April 21-23

Top Hitter: Lars Nootbaar, Soph. 1B/OF – .319 average, 5 home runs, 25 RBI

Top Pitcher: Chris Clarke, Fr: 4-1, 4.89 ERA

 

 

 

A Cal State Fullerton pitcher and catcher congratulating each other after a win. Photo courtesy of fullertontitans.com

 

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS

Won-Loss Records: 23-12, 5-1 and 1st place in the Big West Conference

Coach: Rick Vanderhook, 6th year

National Rank: 8th

Most Recent Game: Lost to San Diego, 11-6, on April 18th

Next Games: at Cal Poly, April 21 to 23

Top Hitter: Scott Hurst, Jr. OF – .305 average, 4 home runs, 22 RBI

Top Pitchers:

John Gavin, Jr: 5-0, 2.22 ERA

Brett Conine, Soph: 0.77 ERA, 7 saves

 

 

 

Those are some really cool uniforms that these Long Beach State Dirtbags are wearing! Photo courtesy of presstelegram.com

 

LONG BEACH STATE 49ers (Dirtbags)

Won-Loss Records: 22-13, 7-2 and 2nd place in the Big West Conference

Coach: Troy Buckley, 7th year

National Rank: 17th

Most Recent Game: Lost to UCLA, 2-1, in 11 innings on April 18th

Next Games: at UC Irvine, April 21 to 23

Top Hitters:

Lucas Tancas, Jr. OF – .333 average, 5 home runs, 18 RBI

Davis Banuelos, Jr. C – .300 average, 5 home runs, 20 RBI

Top Pitchers:

Darren McCaughan, Jr: 4-2, 2.88 ERA

John Sheaks, Jr: 5-1, 2.90 ERA

 

 

An official team photo of Loyola Marymount’s Lions from Westchester, just north of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Photo courtesy of lmulions.com

 

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT LIONS

Won-Loss Records: 24-13, 11-4 and 3rd place in the West Coast Conference

Coach: Jason Gill, 9th year

Most Recent Game: Beat Cal State Northridge, 6-1, on April 18th

Next Games: at Pepperdine (The Big Rivalry!), April 21 to 23

Top Hitter: Phil Caulfield, Sr. 2B – .369 average, 2 home runs, 27 RBI

Top Pitchers:

Codie Paiva, Soph: 5-0, 1.47 ERA

Cory Abbott, Jr: 7-1, 2.12 ERA

 

 

Some members of UCLA’s baseball team honoring the greatest Bruin of all time by wearing throwback uniforms with the iconic #42. That their stadium is named after Jackie Robinson is quite appropriate as well. Photo courtesy of bruinsnation.com

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