For the second time in school history, UCLA will battle for an NCAA baseball championship.
With a 4-1 win over No. 1 seed North Carolina Friday night, the Bruins maintained their spotless postseason record and earned a spot in a best-of-three championship series against Mississippi State starting Monday. Neither team has ever won a baseball title.
In their most unlikely run into Omaha, UCLA — which last played for a title in 2010 — relied on pitching and defense to beat three top-five national seeds in the last two weeks.
Friday’s victory offered more of the same. The Bruins rode a stellar start from sophomore Grant Watson, who allowed just four hits in six scoreless innings. The lefty hadn’t pitched since throwing seven scoreless innings against San Diego on June 2, but coach John Savage said he didn’t hesitate to use Watson instead of ace Adam Plutko on four day’s rest.
“I think he showed the whole country he was ready to pitch on a big stage,” Savage said. Continue reading