UCLA baseball rewarded handsomely

The UCLA baseball team has been hovering around the No. 10 ranking for much of the season, but with a strength of schedule ranked among the country’s toughest and some impressive non-conference wins, the Bruins’ RPI has been in the top-3 for a while.

Turns out the RPI won out.

The 42-14 Bruins earned the No. 2 national seed in the NCAA Tournament – their highest national seed ever – and they will host an NCAA Regional this weekend at Jackie Robinson Stadium for the third consecutive season.

Joining UCLA in Los Angeles will be Creighton – the Bruins’ opening matchup on Friday – as well as San Diego and New Mexico.

The Bruins locked up premiere placement with a season-ending sweep of USC this weekend that gave them a share of the Pac-12 title, along with Arizona. It was the team’s second straight conference title behind John Savage.

Ticket Info
Tickets for NCAA Regional games at Jackie Robinson Stadium can be purchased online Monday, by visiting tickets.ucla.edu. Starting Tuesday at 10 a.m., fans will be able to purchase tickets via phone through UCLA’s Central Ticket Office (310-825-2101).

All-session reserved ticket packages cost $80 for adults and $55 for students and youth. All-session general admission packages cost $55 for adults and $40 for students and youth. The student prices apply to all grade school, high school and college students. Pending availability, single-game tickets will go on sale Friday morning.

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UCLA baseball sweeps USC to claim share of Pac-12 title

From UCLA:

LOS ANGELES – The No. 9 UCLA baseball team earned the 2012 Pac-12 Conference co-championship on Sunday afternoon, sweeping a three-game series against USC with a 7-6 win before 1,778 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UCLA (42-14, 20-10 Pac-12) secured the tiebreak over co-champion Arizona, by virtue of the Bruins’ series victory against the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz., earlier this season. UCLA earned its second consecutive Pac-12 title, recording back-to-back conference championships for the first time in school history.

The Bruins have won 11 of their last 12 ballgames and will host an NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium next weekend.

In a tightly-contested ballgame, Pat Valaika drilled a two-run single to left field with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, snapping a 5-5 tie and putting UCLA ahead of USC, 7-5.

The Trojans (23-32, 8-22 Pac-12) scored one run in the top of the ninth but stranded runners on the corners to end the game. Scott Griggs (3-1) induced a game-ending groundout by Matt Foat and earned the victory in relief, allowing one run and three hits in 1.1 innings.

USC right-hander Martin Viramontes (1-2) was tagged with the loss in relief, surrendering two runs, one hit and one walk in one-third of an inning.

Shane Zeile went 3-for-4 at the plate for the Bruins, who also received two-hit performances from Tyler Heineman (2-for-3, two runs), Trevor Brown (2-for-5, two RBI, one run) and Kevin Kramer (2-for-4, one RBI).

Trailing by a 4-3 margin in the sixth inning, the Bruins took a 5-4 lead on Brown’s two-run, two-out single through the left side of the infield.

USC tied the game, 5-5, with one run in the top of the eighth inning. Trojans’ right fielder Alex Sherrod scored from third base on a strikeout and wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs. Griggs escaped the Trojans’ threat by striking out Brandon Garcia on the next at-bat.

UCLA answered USC’s offensive threats in each of the second and fourth innings. The Trojans scored twice in the top of the second, before UCLA plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. Likewise, UCLA and USC each scored one run in the fourth inning.

Bruins’ right-hander David Berg struck out three hitters in 1.1 innings of relief, making his conference-leading 43rd appearance of the season. Berg appeared in relief for UCLA for the 18th straight game and finished the three-game series with seven strikeouts and one hit in 3.1 scoreless innings.

UCLA returns to action in an NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday, June 1. Game time and opponent are to be determined. The 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed on ESPNU’s 60-minute selection show Monday at 9 a.m. (PT).

Game Notes: UCLA has won 19 of its last 24 games against USC and swept the season series (4-0) against the Trojans for the third time in the last six years … the Bruins have not lost the season series to USC since 2005 … after walking the first two batters on four pitches, Chase Brewer escaped a fifth-inning jam with one double play groundout and an inning-ending groundout … listed as a redshirt junior, Brewer was honored before the game as UCLA’s lone senior in the annual “Senior Day” ceremony.

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UCLA will host NCAA regional, can clinch share of Pac-12 title with win over USC today

From UCLA:

LOS ANGELES – UCLA has been selected as one of 16 sites to host an NCAA Baseball Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium next weekend. With a victory against USC today, the Bruins can secure at least a share of the 2012 Pac-12 Conference title.

UCLA enters Sunday’s season finale against USC with a 41-14 overall record and a 19-10 mark in Pac-12 play. The Bruins will be hosting an NCAA Regional for the third consecutive season. Last spring, UCLA won the Pac-10 Conference title in outright fashion.

The four-team, double-elimination regional will be played at Jackie Robinson Stadium from Friday, June 1 through Monday, June 4 (if necessary). The No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed, and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed starting Friday.

The complete 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed in a 60-minute “Selection Show” on ESPNU on Monday at 9 a.m. (PT). Game times will be announced Monday.

Tickets to NCAA Regional games at Jackie Robinson Stadium will go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. Fans will only be able to purchase tickets online through UCLA’s Central Ticket Office (tickets.ucla.edu). Beginning Monday, fans may only purchase All-Session Reserved or All-Session General Admission packages.

Single-game tickets will not be available until Friday.
UCLA will be making its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance (sixth in last seven seasons).

For updated information, fans are encouraged to visit uclabruins.com.

NCAA Regionals – 16 Host Sites
Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.)
Baylor (Waco, Texas)
Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
Florida State (Tallahassee, Fla.)
LSU (Baton Rouge, La.)
Miami (Coral Gables, Fla.)
N.C. State (Raleigh, N.C.)
North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Oregon (Eugene, Ore.)
Purdue (Gary, Ind.)
Rice (Houston, Texas)
Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)
South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)
Stanford (Stanford, Calif.)
Texas A&M (College Station, Texas)
UCLA (Los Angeles, Calif.)

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Ceachir honored by SMCC

UCLA offensive lineman Alexandru Ceachir, who should be competing for a spot high in the depth chart this season, was honored with the Football Student-Athlete of the Year Award by Santa Monica City College.

Pretty cool story, as Ceachir has only been playing football less than five years and moved from Moldova to continue his career.

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Nelson reportedly suing Sports Illustrated

TMZ is reporting that former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson, under the advisement of entertainment lawyer Keith Fink, is suing Sports Illustrated for defamation of character relating to the March article by George Dohrmann. Nelson is reportedly seeking more than $10 million in damages.

Nelson’s UCLA career ended abruptly last season after he was dismissed from the team by Ben Howland for repeated violations of team rules and attitude issues. He attempted a professional career in Lithuania but lasted just five weeks, and he has been seen on the UCLA campus recently working out.

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