It took 26 years for UCLA to win a share of the Pac-10 title in baseball, and it was fitting that Trevor Bauer was on the mound when it happened.
In the past, I always thought of Tim Leary's year in 1979 as the gold standard for UCLA pitchers. However, Trevor Bauer has surpassed him this year. After today's shutout against ASU, Bauer lowered his ERA to 1.26, and even if you include unearned runs, Bauer has allowed a total of 1.48 runs per nine innings. Bauer's ERA is the lowest by a UCLA pitcher since 1963, when opposing batters were using wood bats. Going into this week's games, Bauer had allowed the fewest hits per nine innings of any Division I pitcher in the nation,
Bauer raised his strikeout total to 189 which is about 40 more than any other pitcher in the nation. Bauer is only 13 strikeouts short of Mark Prior's single season Pac-10 record for strikeouts (When you consider all of the other pitchers that have plied their trade in the Pac-10 like Jack McDowell, Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum, that is a pretty impressive accomplishment), . He is tied for second all time in the Pac-10 with 446 career strikeouts, and is only 45 strikeouts short of Tim Lincecum's career Pac-10 record for strikeouts.
Bauer has won National Player of the week award four times this season, and is likely to win it again this week after blanking the #8 team in the nation with 14 strikeouts. (Even with the new bats this year, before today, ASU had averaged a little under 7 runs per game, and had never been held to less than two runs by any opposing pitcher at Packard Stadium.).
Last year at the CWS the announcers were constantly talking about Bauer's unusual training habits. They missed the point. What is really unusual about Bauer is the results that he has achieved over the last three years.
If you have not seen Bauer pitch, make it a point to try and see him at the Regionals this year. Pitcher like this do not pass this way very often.