Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
We're two days into the Fullerton regional and the Bruins are in the driver's seat. After winning their first two games, the Bruins will face the winner of the 4 pm PT Fullerton/Virginia game at 8 pm PT. Should the Bruins win that game, they will advance to next weekend's Super Regional. If they lose, UCLA and their Sunday opponent will play on Monday with the winner advancing. Here's the regional results and remaining schedule (all games on ESPNU):
Game 1: Virginia- 2, UCLA- 3
Game 2: Rider- 0, Cal St. Fullerton- 11
Game 3: Rider- 2, Virginia- 8, Rider eliminated
Game 4: Cal St. Fullerton- 4, UCLA- 11
Game 5: Cal St. Fullerton vs. Virginia – 4 pm PT
Game 6: UCLA vs. Game 5 winner – 8 pm PST
Game 7: Rematch of Game 6 (if necessary) – 8 pm PT
Some UCLA related thoughts on the regional thus far:
- UCLA's Tim Murphy is untouchable right now- The southpaw did give up two run in his start versus Virginia (one of which was unearned) and he didn't pick up the win, but he was filthy. His ability to command his fastball allowed him to get ahead in counts and use his curveball to sit batters down. Just how good has Murphy been? The first run he gave up to Virginia ended a streak of 22 scoreless innings for the junior.
- The coaches have finally realized that less is more- The Bruin coaching staff was heavily criticized early in the season for over-coaching. Early in the season there was always a play on when the Bruins came to bat whether it be a hit and run, a slash or a bunt. Coaches were also changing players stances in between games and calling timeout so often during games to talk to players that the players could never clear their heads. However, it seems as if the coaches realized they have some pretty talented guys on their team and the best strategy is to lay off and let them do their thing.
- The Fullerton jinx may be over- The Titans have had the Bruins' number the last four years, winning seven straight over the Bruins and 12 of 13. Some of the Bruin losses were blowouts and others were just UCLA blowing the game. It seemed as if the Titans just had a mental hold on the Bruins and it showed in UCLA's play. They would often find themselves pressing against the Titans and playing very tight. This wasn't the case Saturday night as the Bruins looked like they were having fun on the field. They were confident and for the first time in year, looked like they believed they could beat Fullerton. This could be big on Sunday night and possibly Monday should the Titans beat the Cavs.
- The Bruin pitching staff is in great shape- Whenever teams go into postseason play and the double elimination format, pitching depth is always an issue. For managers it is nearly impossible to play for because you're never quite sure how many games you will play. Managers need to decide whether it is worth burning a few arms to get a win or to hope you can get a win and save your staff. Well the Bruins won't have to worry about that the rest of the weekend. Tim Murphy's 7.2 innings on Friday set the Bruins up well to start the regional. Brendan Lafferty only pitched one inning Friday and wasn't used against the Titans so he will be ready to go on Sunday and Monday. The only pitcher likely unavailable on Sunday will be Jason Novak, who threw 3.2 innings Saturday. Matt Drummond, Rob Rasmussen, Garett Claypool, Brandon Crawford and Matt Grace all have fresh arms and Murphy may even be available for an inning if necessary.
- Gabe Cohen isn't available this weekend- A few of you may have wondered where Cohen was this weekend. The sophomore sprained his wrist last weekend in Berkeley and won't be available this weekend, however he did tell me that he expects to be ready for the Super Regionals should the Bruins advance.
- Jackie Robinson Stadium may actually host a Super Regional- If, and that's a big if so early in the weekend, the Bruins advance to next weekend's Super Regional they may be hosting. Should they host they would not do so on merit, but rather by default. The winner of the Fullerton regional will play the winner of the Palo Alto regional in the Super Regionals. Arkansas has already been eliminated from the Palo Alto regional and Pepperdine, Stanford and UC Davis are the three teams still alive. Pepperdine is in the winner's bracket and Stanford and UC Davis are in the loser's bracket. Should Stanford and UCLA each advance, the Cardinal would host the Bruins, however if Pepperdine or UC Davis win their regional then the Bruins would likely host. UC Davis' stadium is far too small to host and Pepperdine's stadium does not have lights (the NCAA has stated they will not allow team's to host without lights). It is still too early to pencil the Bruins into next weekend, but you may want to root for the Waves and Aggies in the Palo Alto regional.