OMAHA, Neb. — Greetings from Omaha. I was nearly killed by a combination of demonic rain (anyone ever driven through a Midwest thunderstorm?…insane), lightning and semi trucks on my drive to Nebraska but I’m thrilled to finally be here. I’ll just be bringing you coverage of today’s opener v. Stony Brook. The rain appears to have let up for now but it’s supposed to rain all week so we could definitely see some delays or postponements.
While Stony Brook was busy shocking No. 7 national seed LSU, UCLA’s consistent brand of baseball has kept them as under the radar as an undefeated No. 2 seed could be. All of Omaha is pulling for Stony Brook as the locals love the underdogs. The Bruins faced a similar problem with TCU in 2010 but coach John Savage doesn’t seem to mind.
“If everyone is pulling for them, that’s what college baseball is all about,” Savage said in a press conference Thursday. “We’ll embrace it and go play.”
The Seawolves are playing in their first ever CWS and are just the second No. 4 regional seed to reach the series (Fresno State did it in ’08 and won the title). I’m not picking them to win it but they’re the real deal. They’re hitting .335 as a team (No. 2 in the nation), they lead the country in wins at 52-13 and, like UCLA, had seven players drafted.
Lastly, for all you Valley folks, Stony Brook has three Crespi alumni: Ace of staff and today’s starter senior RHP Tyler Johnson (12-1, 1.91 ERA), sophomore outfielder Joshua Mason and sophomore outfielder Michael Hubbard.
I’ll post lineups when I get them tomorrow. We do know that UCLA will start sophomore RHP Adam Plutko (11-3, 2.56 ERA).