First of all let me thank Ryan for all his work on this website. Whenever anyone had a question about the Bruin baseball Ryan was there to answer it. As somebody who has been a longtime follower of Bruin baseball, and remembers (not too long ago before the internet) when the Daily Bruin was the only source for baseball info, I really appreciated his insight on the Bruin team.
I think that in evaluating this team you have to look at what was expected of them. Before theyear started most of the “experts” had the Bruins ranked between 20th and 27th in the nation. The Bruins who only hit .285 last year, lost 4 out of their top 5 RBI producers, and I, like many other people, wondered how the Bruins were going to score enough runs to qualify for the regionals.
I can’t emphasize enough the contributions that the freshmen made on this team. Amaral, Keefer, Regis and Gelalich all had on base percentages between .420 and .465. I am really sorry that Cody Keefer was not healthy for the regionals, and I look forward to seeing him take his game to the next level in 2011. I think the two Codys are going to be a force next season
In looking back, there were so many great highlights from this season including:
1) Blair Dunlap starting off the season with a home run on the first pitch in the first game
2) Playing in front of almost 15,000 fans at Dodger Stadium and defeating the Trojans 6-1
3) Shattering the school record with 22 wins in a row
4) Cody Keefer hitting a walk off two run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth which turned out to be his last at bat of the season to sweep the season series from the Trojans and help secure their position in last place in the Pac-10
5) Garrett Claypool getting rewarded for coming back for his senior year by getting 8 wins and getting drafted in the 11th round
6) Hosting a regional and a super regional
7) Breaking the school record for wins with 51
8) Tyler Rahmatulla’s home run with two out in the top of the ninth against Fullerton which turned out to be his last at bat of the season
9) Finally winning a game at the College World Series
10) Getting revenge against Fullerton for 1979, 2007 and 2008, and LSU for 200
11) Trevor Bauer striking out the side in the 8th inning after throwing more than 120 pitches in brutal heat
12) Cody Regis hitting a three run home run against UCI to put the Bruins in the Super Regionals
13) Drawing enough fans to JRS that they were forced to add additional bleachers.
I am sure some people will look at this season as a missed opportunity to win a championship, and point to some things that could have been different in the CWS finals. However, I think Savage, Vanderhook and the Bruins won something more important than a trophy in the long run (with some assistance from Ryan) which is the hearts of some new fans. As I get older I have come to realize that in sports it is the games and the moments within the game rather than the trophies that matter, and these Bruins had some great games and moments this season. This was a group of guys who worked very hard and formed a very cohesive team. I expect more big things from them next season, although they have set the bar pretty darn high for 2011. Now if we can get more than just 2 regular season games televised for 2011 .. . .