We will start our Friday walk with our softball team, which is going to be back in action tomorrow evening at Easton. The Daily Bruin has a preview of Jelly (Anjelica Selden) and her team-mates quest for Bru-103 (taking my cue from Tele). They are taking on a scrappy Georgia Bulldogs team, which they beat earlier in the season in a come from behind victory:
"Georgia, obviously, they made it to Super Regionals; they’re a really talented team," senior pitcher Anjelica Selden said. "It was a challenge to pitch against them. They’re scrappy and they’re fighters. Those are probably the hardest teams to pitch against because you want to come up with a good pitch, and those are the teams that are going to foul off those strikeout pitches. They’re a high-energy team. This weekend will be pretty exciting."
The "exciting" weekend will see its first pitch thrown Saturday at 5 p.m. in the first game of the best-of-three series. Game two will kick off at 4 p.m. Sunday, and if necessary, a third and deciding game will be played shortly after the second game concludes. All three games are to be nationally televised. Saturday’s game will air on ESPN, while Sunday’s games will be available on ESPN2.
The 5-2 final score of the teams’ first matchup is slightly deceiving; the Bruins’ win was anything but comfortable. The Bulldogs scored their two runs in the top of the first and held a 2-0 lead over Selden until the bottom of the fifth. In that inning, GiOnna DiSalvatore laced a two-out double down the left-field line with the bases loaded to score three and give the Bruins their first lead of the game.
"We fought back," senior Krista Colburn said. "We just kept fighting and kept fighting, and we just tried to scrap it out. They have a very solid team."
In fact, the Bruins played from behind to win that game the same way they did in last weekend’s contests.
To get to the Super Regionals, UCLA had to come from behind in each of its three games to win and advance.
Hmm. A championship caliber squad that is making a habit of pulling out games in clutch one come from behind situations after another. I know it’s too easy but I will say it again these ladies are softball version of our Ben Ball warriors. Always making the games a little too exciting. Let’s hope they get off to a great start tomorrow and take care of business in front of our home crowd (and this is our call out to everyone here to get out to Easton and show these wonderful athletes the same support we give to our football and basketball programs).
Sticking with the diamond we have already talked about the all important baseball series at Cal this weekend. John Savage gives us the bottom line:
"We have to win the series this weekend, and that’s the bottom line," coach John Savage said following a loss to Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday. "I think we know that. We can certainly bounce back (from the loss)."
Playing against a team that is ranked higher in the RPI is beneficial for UCLA because a road-series win will improve the team’s resume. Both teams are also tied for third place in the tight Pac-10 standings and will be attempting to position themselves ahead of one another.
Hopefully Murphy will set the tone for this weekend with a strong performance tonight. And if his team-mates can stick to the basics, do not make mistakes, and can get some clutch hits in key situations, it will get the weekend started on a perfect note.
Moving over to hoops Brian Dohn has some news re. Shipp (HT to TuneMan7):
Josh Shipp will announce soon he is withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to UCLA for his senior season, his mother said Thursday.
Shipp, one of four Bruins starters to declare for the draft after the season, will become the first to pull his name out.
"He'll make an announcement real soon," said Shipp's mother, Debbie. "He's still chasing that national title. In the next day or so he'll say something."
Again we will wait till there is an actual announcement before adjusting our roster/depth chart projections. And speaking of announcement here is the latest on Morgan:
South Oak Cliff High of Dallas center J'mison Morgan delayed the announcement he is committing to UCLA a day because of a mixup in plans as he readies for graduation ceremonies, his mother said, but she added the announcement will come at 10 a.m. today.
When asked if Morgan was definitely committing to UCLA, Morgan's mother, Bianca, said "Yes."
Morgan was released from his national letter of intent by LSU, but the paperwork still has not been faxed to UCLA. Bianca Morgan said that will happen today.
Sounds about right. It’s kind of interesting that it is taking this long for LSU to send the paperwork. I wonder if the folks in Baton Rouge have heard of emails, scanners, and pdf files. Goodness gracious.
Still it was a little amusing to see some of the more frustrating reactions to yesterday’s news of postponement of Morgan news conference. Folks, welcome to the wacky world of recruiting. This is not unusual. It’s silly to get yourself worked up (and down) based on day to day development around blue chip recruits. This is not anything new. We have experienced this a number of times involving big times recruits in both football and hoops. Again remember Durrell Price from the class of 1996? From Bucknuts.com:
The class will also be remembered for one of the strangest recruiting stories in history. Running back Durrell Price of California was set to be a member of this class, but his letter of intent did not go through on signing day when he attempted to fax it. He took it as a sign and decided to fax a letter of intent to UCLA instead.
That story worked out for us, while few others didn’t.
StilI am feeling good about Morgan. But I will wait for the official announcement. And if for some reason the kid has a last second change in heart, then big deal, we move on. Either way it will work out all right for us. But don’t let the recruiting highs and lows drive you crazy and more importantly attack the kids. The bottom line here is we have the luxury to stay even keeled about this given the fact we have head coach who has Plan D in place (not just B and C). In other words to those getting impatient: CHILL.
Lastly, we will end today walk out in the links. Women’s golf team are gunning for Bru-103. Right now they are tied for the top spot with the School of OJs (HT to snorkedorf). You can follow the live coverage here (HT to TJ) . I will put up a baseball open thread later this evening and will make to sure include that link that open thread as well.