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The ultimate destination for our SoCal college baseball teams: TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NEB, home of the College World Series.

 

Baseball and softball are reaching their peak.

At least at the college level, as four Los Angeles area teams have earned a spot in the postseason.

One of those four teams have already earned their holy grail in making softball’s  Women’s College World Series, while the other three teams will begin their quest for college baseball’s holy grail – the College World Series in Omaha – this week.

We won’t waste any more time in checking out these squads – we’ll start with the SoCal softball team that is going for the ultimate prize…

( * = denotes leads the team)

 

 

Bruins celebrating a home run at Easton Stadium, UCLA’s home field…

 

UCLA BRUINS

Record: 47-13, 16-8 and tied for third place in the Pac-12 Conference

Coach: Kelly Inouye-Perez

Rank: Tied for 8th

Playoff Seed: 5th

* Won Los Angeles Regional, beating Lehigh, San Jose State, and Cal State Fullerton

* Won NCAA Super Regional (also in Los Angeles), beating Mississippi two games to none

* Will begin play in the Women’s College World Series, at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, OK, vs. LSU on Thursday, June 1st, at 11:30 a.m.

Number of National Championships: 11 (leads the nation) – 1982, 1984-85, 1988-90, 1992, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2010

Top Pitchers:

Rachel Garcia: 22-7, 1.92 ERA, 3 saves, 196 strikeouts*

Selina Ta’amilo: 14-0, 2.79 ERA

Joanna Grauer: 11-4, 2.88 ERA

Top Hitters:

Kylee Perez, 2B – .406 average*, 2 home runs, 29 RBI, 82 hits*

Delaney Spaulding, SS – .381 average, 16 home runs*, 43 RBI

Madeline Jelenicki, 1B – .339 average, 15 home runs, 69 RBI*

Briana Tautalafoa, 3B – .330 average, 16 home runs*, 50 RBI

Rachel Garcia, P/OF/DP – .327 average, 7 home runs, 27 RBI

Thoughts:

These ladies are HOT right now, playing their best softball at exactly the right time.

That’s why though it wont be easy, with top-seeded Florida and defending champion Oklahoma (who will overwhelmingly have the home crowd on their side being that the WCWS is but 21 miles from their campus in Norman) in the mix, I see these Bruins’ chances as good to take home their 12th title – and the school’s 114th.

 

 

ALL RIGHT, HERE ARE THE THREE SOCAL COLLEGE BASEBALL TEAMS THAT WILL COMMENCE POST SEASON PLAY:

 

A Cal State Fullerton player scoring during a game – cool uniforms!

 

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS

Record: 34-21, 15-9 and third place in the Big West Conference

Coach: Rick Vanderhook

Rank: 20th

* Had a seven-game winning streak from March 10-19 and a six-game winning streak from April 1-9

* Will begin play in the Stanford Regional in Palo Alto, CA as a two seed vs. BYU on Thursday, June 1st, at 1:00 p.m.

Number of National Championships: 4 – 1979, 1984, 1995, 2004

Top Pitchers:

Connor Seabold: 10-4, 2.94 ERA, 108 strikeouts

John Gavin: 6-2, 3.07 ERA

Brett Conine: 1.45 ERA, 12 saves

Top Hitters:

Scott Hurst, CF – .339 average*, 11 home runs*, 37 RBI*, 74 hits*

Taylor Bryant, 3B – .275 average, 3 home runs, 34 RBI

Hunter Cullen, RF – .276 average, 5 home runs, 26 RBI

Timmy Richards, SS – .280, 4 home runs, 22 RBI

Thoughts:

Besides the fact that Scott Hurst is the Titans’ big stud – judging by the numbers – this team has a strong history of excellence as one of the jewels of sports in the Cal State system.

Which is why I wouldn’t vote against them making it to Omaha.

Especially since they’ve won at least one national championship each of the previous four decades.

 

Those are some REALLY cool jerseys that this Long Beach State Dirtbag team has…

 

LONG BEACH STATE 49ers (DIRTBAGS)

Record: 37-17-1, 20-4 and Big West Champions

Coach: Troy Buckley

Rank: 9th

* Won five of six games against rival Cal State Fullerton to win the Big West title

* Has won eight of the last ten games

* Will begin play as a one seed, hosting a regional at Blair Field in Long Beach and facing San Diego State on Friday, June 2nd, at 8:00 p.m.

Top Pitchers:

Dave Smith: 8-1, 1.55 ERA*

Darren McCaughan: 8-2, 2.66 ERA, 94 strikeouts*

Chris Rivera: 2.51 ERA, 11 saves

Top Hitters:

Ramsey Romano, 3B – .338 average*, 2 home runs, 36 RBI*, 73 hits*

Lucas Tancas, LF – .312 average, 9 home runs,*, 34 RBI

Davis Banuelos, C – .303 average, 7 home runs, 28 RBI

Thoughts:

Although these Dirtbags finished the regular season ranked in the top ten with a conference crown in their pocket, wining their regional will be no easy cupcake walk as San Diego State (their first opponent), longtime traditional power Texas, and UCLA – more on them a bit – are all quite capable of emerging from this foursome and punching a ticket to the super regional.

The fact that Long Beach State will be at home will be quite the factor.

 

The greatest moment in UCLA Baseball history: winning their first national championship in 2003…

 

UCLA BRUINS

Record: 30-25, 19-11 and third place in the Pac-12 Conference

Coach: John Savage

Rank: None

* Swept crosstown rival USC at USC on May 4-6, after losing to the Trojans at Dodger Stadium on March 5th.

* Have won six of their last eight games

* Will begin play in the Long Beach Regional as a three seed vs Texas on Friday, June 3rd, at 4:00 p.m.

Number of National Championships: One – 2013

Top Pitchers:

Griffin Canning: 7-3, 2.34 ERA*, 134 strikeouts*

John Olsen: 7-1, 2.91 ERA

Scott Burke: 2.55 ERA, 5 saves

Top Hitters:

Sean Bouchard, 1B – .305 average*, 9 home runs*, 43 RBI*, 64 hits*

Daniel Amaral, CF – .286 average, 1 home run, 21 RBI

Brett Stephens, LF – .279 average, 2 home runs, 21 RBI

Michael Toglia, RF – .263 average, 8 home runs, 33 RBI

Chase Stumpf, 2B – .244 average, 7 home runs, 30 RBI

Thoughts:

I have to give this baseball team of my alma mater’s much credit for improving their play over the course of the season, particularly in the conference.

After watching the Bruins blow a 3-0 lead and lose to ‘SC at Dodger Stadium, I honestly didn’t think they would have a very good season, but I was wrong.

A significant factor in UCLA making the postseason is the simple fact that they have – at long last – found some pop in their lineup; Bouchard was their Mike Trout as he led the Bruins in pretty much every hitting category.

He will be crucial to the Bruins’ chances as being the next-to-last team among the 64 chosen for these playoffs, not much is expected.

Judging from their recent efforts, however, I think they have as good a shot as anyone.

 

Highlights of UCLA’s softball team clinching their berth in this year’s Women’s College World Series with the Bruins’ 1-0 win over Ole Miss. Courtesy of YouTube.

 

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