UCLA baseball to wear retro uniforms for Jackie Robinson Day

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Sixty-eight years ago today, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

To honor the him, the Bruins will wear “40s era”-inspired retro uniforms on April 16, the start of a three-game series against Cal. UCLA currently leads the Pac-12 with a 12-3 record (26-7 overall), and has yet to lose either a midweek game or a conference series.

Robinson’s No. 42 was already retired last fall through all of UCLA athletics. He lettered in baseball, basketball, football and track as a Bruin.

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UCLA baseball to play USC in Dodgertown Classic

UCLA beat USC, 6-1, at the Dodgertown Classic at Dodger Stadium in front of more than 14,000 fans on Sunday, February 28, 2010. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA beat USC, 6-1, at the Dodgertown Classic at Dodger Stadium in front of more than 14,000 fans on Sunday, February 28, 2010. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Tickets have gone on sale for the return of the Dodgertown Classic, which will feature UCLA vs. USC and Vanderbilt vs. TCU on Sunday, March 8.

The event is going back to Chavez Ravine after a two-year break, though it is billed simply as the “Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic” this year rather than by its old name. The Bruins and Trojans are scheduled to play at 3:30 p.m., following an 11:45 a.m. first pitch between the defending NCAA champion Commodores and the Horned Frogs. The UCLA-USC game will also be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.

“Our program is very excited to get the opportunity to play at Dodger Stadium,” UCLA coach John Savage said in a statement. “We thank the Dodgers organization for hosting a great day of college baseball and we are looking forward to having our fans come out and support the Bruins.” Continue reading

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UCLA looks to bounce back from 2014’s ninth-place Pac-12 finish

UCLA closer David Berg pitches against Cal State Fullerton in the 2013 NCAA Super Regional. Berg returned for his senior season in 2015, turning down a 17th-round draft selection by the Texas Rangers. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA closer David Berg pitches against Cal State Fullerton in the 2013 NCAA Super Regional. Berg returned for his senior season in 2015, turning down a 17th-round draft selection by the Texas Rangers. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA baseball placed ninth in the Pac-12 last season, an injury-riddled down year that marked its first finish outside the conference’s top three since 2005 — head coach John Savage’s debut season.

Two years removed from their first NCAA title, the Bruins enter 2015 with a mix of experience and young talent as they set their sights on another trip to Omaha. Most notable is the pitching staff, which features Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year candidate James Kaprielian and star closer David Berg. The season starts at 6 p.m. today, with a weekend series against Hofstra.

A few notes that didn’t make the season preview, which ran in today’s paper and also touches on the potential effects of the sport’s new flat-seam ball:

— Asked if he learned anything in particular from last season’s ninth-place finish, Savage said: “Confidence is very fragile. This is a very humbling game. You’re really only as good as your last game. That’s how I look at it. Maybe when I get away and look at the big picture, it’s a little different. But you’re competitive. You don’t like taking the losses that we took last year. You want to fight. You want to compete.” Continue reading

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UCLA retires Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 across all sports

Jackie Robinson's No. 42 is now painted on both sides of UCLA's midfield logo at the Rose Bowl.

Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is now painted on both sides of UCLA’s midfield logo at the Rose Bowl. The number has been retired across all Bruin sports.

UCLA has retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 across all sports, honoring the former four-star athlete and civil rights pioneer 75 years after he first enrolled as Bruin.

The school announced the news between the first and second quarters of UCLA’s rivalry game on Saturday against USC. The No. 42 was also painted on both sides of the midfield logo at the Rose Bowl, and adorned the Bruins’ helmets.

“Jackie Robinson established a standard of excellence to which people the world over should aspire,” said athletic director Dan Guerrero. Continue reading

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UCLA athletic facilities collectively named to honor Jackie Robinson

UCLA athletic facilities have now been named to honor former Bruin star and civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson, the school announced Friday afternoon.

The Jackie Robinson Athletics and Recreation Complex will be the new umbrella name that includes 22 different buildings, including Pauley Pavilion, Spaulding Field, the John Wooden Center, and just about any other on-campus venue you can think of.

Robinson arrived on the UCLA campus 75 years ago, and went on to star in four sports. The man who broke baseball’s color barrier was an honorable All-American in football, the conference scoring leader in basketball, and an NCAA champion in the broad jump.

“Jackie Robinson’s name and his legacy are an honor to this university, and to all the students and student-athletes who will continue to be inspired by his courage, dignity and grace,” UCLA chancellor Gene Block said in a statement. “Jackie detested injustice, fought for civil rights and his spirit of breaking barriers has been and always will be a guiding force of UCLA past, present and future.”

UCLA players will wear the Robinson’s No. 42 on their helmets for Saturday’s game against USC at the Rose Bowl. The number will also be painted on the 25-yard line.

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