Cornerback Jalen Ortiz decides to transfer out of UCLA

Washington Huskies defensive back Tre Watson (32) knocks away pass intended for wide receiver Jalen Ortiz (8) during the the Bruins' 41-31 win at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 15, 2013. Ortiz switched to cornerback the following season. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Washington Huskies defensive back Tre Watson (32) knocks away pass intended for wide receiver Jalen Ortiz (8) during the the Bruins’ 41-31 win at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 15, 2013. Ortiz switched to cornerback the following season. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Cornerback Jalen Ortiz has decided to transfer out of UCLA, ending his Bruin career after limited action through two seasons.

The 5-foot-9, 182-pound Phoenix-area native arrived in Los Angeles as a receiver, but switched to the defensive backfield as a sophomore. A former three-star recruit, Ortiz announced his decision Tuesday on Twitter.

“After long consideration and many talks with my family I have decided to transfer from UCLA,” he wrote. “These past two years here have been two of the best of my life, and I have so many people for that including Coach (Jim) Mora and his staff for giving me the opportunity to play at such a prestigious university.”

He appeared in 26 games, mostly on special teams. He had four catches for 27 yards in 2013, and made five tackles last fall playing mostly on special teams.

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UCLA pitcher Griffin Canning out for postseason with stress fracture

UCLA baseball earned its first-ever No. 1 overall seed on Monday, but a potential return trip to Omaha will come without one of their key players.

Starting pitcher Griffin Canning — who has been sidelined for more than two weeks — will likely miss the entire NCAA tournament with a stress fracture in his back, head coach John Savage said Tuesday. The freshman had been the Bruins’ Sunday starter for most of the season until he got injured warming up at Arizona State earlier this month.

“Griffin Canning being hurt is a blow,” Savage said. “There’s no doubt. … That one hurts, because I felt like he was a Sunday starter who was really a (No.) 1 or a 2.” Continue reading

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UCLA baseball picked as No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament

UCLA baseball is going into the postseason with a huge target on its back.

The Bruins, who just finished one of their most successful regular seasons ever, received their first-ever No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament this morning. They will host the Los Angeles Regional starting on Friday, playing their first game at 8 p.m. (ESPNU) against Cal State Bakersfield.

The winner will advance to face either Ole Miss or Maryland, who play beforehand at 4 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

After missing the postseason entirely last year, UCLA (42-13, 22-7) set a new school record for conference wins this spring and clinched its third Pac-12 title in five years. It enters the field of 64 with the nation’s lowest ERA (2.16).

This is the fifth time in six seasons that the Bruins are starting the postseason at home, and the third time they have earned a top-eight national seed since 2010. Should they advance to host an NCAA Super Regional, they could very well face USC. The Trojans are playing in the Lake Elsinore Regional, in a four-team field that includes Virginia, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State.

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UCLA softball beats Missouri, earns spot in Women’s College World Series

UCLA softball is heading back to Oklahoma City. For the first time since their 2010 championship run, the Bruins earned a spot in the Women’s College World Series — sweeping No. 10 Missouri this weekend.

The Tigers fell today in a 10-6 decision, one that followed UCLA’s 7-4 comeback win on Saturday. The No. 7 Bruins will open the WCWS on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PT (ESPN2) against Pac-12 champion Oregon, which took two games in their regular-season series in April.

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UCLA baseball sets school record with 22nd conference win

This might be UCLA’s best baseball team yet.

The No. 2 Bruins beat Oregon, 4-3, on Friday night, plating the go-ahead run on a two-out, bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth inning. The victory moved them to 22-6 in Pac-12 play, setting a new school record for conference wins. UCLA won 21 league games on their way to the national title in 2013, as well as in 1986 and 1979.

A three-run third inning gave the Bruins an early 3-1 lead, but the Ducks tied the game with a series of singles in the eighth. UCLA shortstop Kevin Kramer drew a four-pitch walk against reliever Garrett Cleavinger to push his team ahead.

The team already clinched its third conference title in five years by sweeping Arizona last weekend, but it can still set more milestones. Two more wins to close out the regular season would give UCLA a 44-12 record. The Bruins’ best-ever regular season came five years ago, when they went 43-13 and reached the College World Series final.

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