Gerrit Cole debuts with 3-pitch strikeout, 2-RBI single

Taking a major-league mound for the first time, Gerrit Cole wasted no time filling his highlight quota.

Two years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates took Cole first overall out of UCLA, where he struck out 346 batters over three seasons. On Tuesday, he did the same against Gregor Blanco, punching out the the San Francisco Giants leadoff man on three pitches.

Cole also connected for a two-RBI single on his very first at at-bat, giving the Pirates their first two runs in an 8-2 win. He easily outdueled former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum for the victory, finishing with two strikeouts, no walks, two earned runs and seven hits through 6 1/3 innings.

While his overreliance on his fastball could be a concern going forward, the 22-year-old is a potential star on a club chasing its first winning season since 1992.

“He was impressive,” said UCLA coach John Savage, who watched the game with his team after practice. “I thought he filled up the strike zone. He didn’t get ahead of himself. I think you saw a potential No. 1 starter growing up, maturing. I contribute that to going to college, what he went through here, being a Friday night guy for three years. I think he’s just grown up too.”

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Bruins steady in latest APR rankings

The NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate reports this morning, which means anyone can go fiddle with the somewhat-cumbersome search engine and figure out which rivals they can mock for their classroom failures. While certainly imperfect, the APR — which factors in eligibility and retention — is still the only college athletics’ only comprehensive academic metric.

Here are the rankings for Pac-12 football, which average out the four academic years through 2011-12:

1. Stanford, 978
2. UCLA, 966
3. Utah, 963
4. Oregon St, 957
5. Arizona, 956
6. Washington, 954
7. Oregon, 951
8. Colorado, 946
9. USC, 945
10. Washington St, 942
11. Arizona St, 937
12. Cal, 935 Continue reading

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Hawaii to play UCLA at Rose Bowl in 2017

Rose Bowl: Pasadena, Ca

Four years from now, the Rose Bowl will host Hawaii for the first time ever.

The University of Hawaii announced yesterday that it had scheduled a game at UCLA on Sept. 9, 2017. Currently coached by former Bruins offensive coordinator Norm Chow, the Warriors have only one winning season since June Jones’ 12-1 campaign in 2007.

Hawaii finished 3-9 overall in 2012, and 1-7 in its Mountain West debut.

UCLA has beaten twice the Warriors, first notching a 19-6 win at the L.A. Coliseum in 1935. Hawaii last played the Bruins in 1939, losing 32-7 in the Poi Bowl.

More importantly, the Warriors officially re-adopt their original nickname, the Rainbow Warriors, on July 1. This was their throwback uniform.

Photo by Alejandro de la Cruz, under Creative Commons.

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(Bi-)Weekly Q&A Answers — 6/9/13

Q: How much heat is on Dan Guerrero and Gene Block with the Steve Alford hire? Regardless of win/loss he is not of the stature UCLA is used to, especially when the precedent was set by John Wooden.

Considering UCLA just gave Guerrero a new extension, I don’t think he’s in jeopardy unless more goes wrong. Way too much money to terminate him without cause ($734,774 for every year left on his contract) and probably not enough reason to do it with cause. Colorado canned Mike Bohn pretty suddenly, but even that was two years after he signed his extension. I don’t think a chancellor’s job would be in danger over a coaching hire.

Q: How close are you and other beat writers to the status on basketball recruiting? Top targets? Current standing of UCLA with them and how close they are to signing? Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Ed Orgeron berated former player; Arizona adds unique display facemasks

– A USC player from the late 1990s and early 2000s says Ed Orgeron called him a “motherf—-r” for leaving practice 20 minutes early once a week for a statistics class. Best quote: “He M-F’d me all over the place.” Orgeron did not comment.

– These won’t be on the field, but Arizona is getting some unique display-model facemasks — including ones with an A-logo and “Cats” script.

– Stanford released a slick “You Can Play” video, one that features forward Josh Huestis and running back Barry Sanders Jr. Athletic director Bernard Muir opens by setting up chairs for everyone.

– Cal’s speedy but oft-injured tailback Brendan Bigelow has had wheels since he was a kid. The Bears also gave their basketball court a paint job.

– SI’s Andy Staples and former NCAA compliance officer John Infante both break down the problematic nature of the NLI. Continue reading

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JUCO lineman Jermaine Eluemunor commits to UCLA

In less than a week, UCLA has landed two of the nation’s top JUCO prospects. Tackle Jermaine Eluemunor visited Westwood this weekend and committed before he left, joining fellow four-star recruit Dominick Jackson as the Bruins’ newest commits.

Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm continues to solidify his reputation as one of the country’s best recruiters after landing a seven-man class in February, this time pulling Eluemunor all the way from Lackawanna C.C. in Pennsylvania to bolster the class of 2014.

The presence of All-American Xavier Su’a-Filo also helped convince the 6-foot-6, 300-pounder to pick UCLA over the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio State and USC.

From Continue reading

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Third Omaha trip in four years solidifies UCLA’s powerhouse status

John Savage sat in front of the press late Saturday night and insisted that Cal State Fullerton, the team whose season he’d just ended, was still the best in the country.

“People may not believe me,” the UCLA coach allowed.

Savage had paid the Titans the same compliment before sweeping them in two games — putting the Bruins in the College World Series for the third time in four years. CSUF had entered the weekend with a top-five ERA, top-25 fielding percentage and top-50 home run total. It had lost back-to-back games only once all season, and never dropped a series.

Since the Super Regional format was added in 1999, no team has reached the College World Series more times than Fullerton’s seven. Now the Titans have missed four straight, their longest drought since they first went to Omaha in 1975.

In that same timeframe, only 14 teams had reached Omaha in back-to-back seasons. With 5-3 and 3-0 wins, UCLA became the 15th. Continue reading

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Bruins sweep Fullerton, earn second straight trip to College World Series

FULLERTON — For the first time in school history, UCLA has punched back-to-back trips to Omaha.

With a 3-0 win over Super Regional host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, the Bruins are headed to the College World Series for the third time in four years. Coach John Savage — who over nine years became the architect of a national power — earned his 27th postseason victory, setting a new UCLA record.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of our program,” he said. Continue reading

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Report: Vanderdoes left Notre Dame for ailing family member

When Eddie Vanderdoes officially signed with UCLA earlier this week, breaking his letter of intent with Notre Dame, the five-star defensive lineman only cited “very personal reasons.”

A report from CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman sheds a little more light on the situation. Sources told Feldman that one of Vanderdoes’ close relatives was diagnosed with a severe illness a few months ago, prompting him to push for a release from Notre Dame.

The Irish have declined to do so, with head coach Brian Kelly explaining that he needed to protect the integrity of his program. Left unsaid was that no head coach wants set a precedent by allowing recruits to renege on their letters of intent.

Unless Vanderdoes and his family can successfully push for a release, perhaps through an appeal, the top-rated lineman will lose a year of eligibility and start playing in 2014.

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