John Savage has groomed a long line of outstanding pitchers at UCLA. None of them ever pulled off what happened on Friday night.
To start the Bruins’ last Pac-12 home series of the season, James Kaprielian and David Berg combined to pitch 10 no-hit innings in a walk-off win over Arizona. It was the first no-hitter since UCLA baseball began taking records in 1946, and the first time the Wildcats had been no-hit since 1970 — eight years before they even joined the conference.
Kaprielian, who leads the league in strikeouts, tied his season-high with 11 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. He was brilliant through nine innings, retiring 14 straight batters from the third to the seventh. Berg, arguably the greatest closer in NCAA history, closed out the 10th before Kevin Kramer plated the winning run on a walk-off sac fly.
Earlier on Friday, UCLA softball began postseason play in a very different style, opening the NCAA Regional by mercy ruling CSUN in a 9-1 win. The Bruins hit three home runs in the third, shelling Matador pitcher Zoe Conley, who had only given up six homers all season.
UCLA is shooting to return to the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2010.
» The NCAA men’s basketball rules committee has recommended a package of proposed changes, including a 30-second shot clock, a reduction in timeouts (!), and a sixth foul. The proposed rule changes could be approved in June.
» With Nike’s help, Oregon athletics turned itself into a national brand. A year ago, the university started a $20 million plan to try and do the same for its academic stature.
» Former Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday has retired before starting his NFL rookie minicamp. According to ESPN, Halliday “lost his love for football” after injuring his leg last November. Continue reading
UCLA quarterbacks work on drill during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)
Much has already been made of UCLA’s quarterback situation over the past several weeks. Through 15 practices, the consensus among observers was this: Josh Rosen looks like the Bruins’ best starting option this season.
Jim Mora and the rest of the coaching staff has declined to officially name a starter, which is unsurprising for a two main reasons: it’s not a good look to have a true freshman, however talented, zoom to the top of the depth chart; it might persuade those who lose the competition to think longer and harder before potentially deciding to transfer out.
For those still skeptical, here’s the quick argument for UCLA to start a first-year player at a position where first-year players have historically struggled. Continue reading
For the ninth year, UCLA coach Jim Mora is set to host his annual celebrity golf classic — the biggest fundraiser for the children’s charity helmed by his wife, Shannon.
The Jim Mora Count on Me Family Foundation, which benefits at-risk children, is holding the event for the third time since arriving in Los Angeles. It will take place Monday morning at The Riviera Country Club, less than five miles west of the Bruins’ campus.
After a Sunday evening cocktail reception at the W Hotel, the golf fundraiser will host such names as Troy Aikman, Marcus Allen, Dick Butkus, and LaDainian Tomlinson.
You can donate to the foundation at the official site.
The NBA Combine will hold its on-court portions to end this week, with five-on-five competition returning for the first time since 2008.
Former UCLA guard Norman Powell is slated to participate, part of a nine-man squad that also includes Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison, Arizona’s T.J. McConnell, and Stanford’s Chasson Randle. They will take the floor at 1:30 p.m. PT on both Thursday and Friday.
In the meantime, there are full body measurements from 63 players to pore over. Both Powell and forward Kevon Looney stood out in one particular category: their wingspans.
A potential lottery pick after his lone season at UCLA, Looney spread his arms out to 7’3.5″, tying him for sixth at the combine with Kansas’ Cliff Alexander. The downside is that he also tied for the eighth-highest body fat percentage at 11.9 percent. It’s a surprising number given how lanky he looked as a college player, and helps explain why he appeared winded at the end of the season despite being listed at 6-foot-9, 220 pounds. Continue reading