Bumped. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.
Collegiate Baseball has released its preseason poll, and UCLA is ranked 15th. The number 1 team is Cal State Fullerton. This could spell trouble down the road. Remember our magical ride last season through Omaha ran through Fullerton in the super regional. Avoiding a trip there again would be nice.
Other Pac-12 teams in the preseason rankings are Oregon State (4th), Oregon (6th), Arizona State (22nd), Arizona (24th) and Stanford (26th). Other west coast teams in the rankings are Cal Poly (27th), San Diego (33rd) and UCSB (39th). The rankings run through the top 40.
UCLA plays Cal Poly in a 3 game series at home in the 2nd weekend of the season. UCLA plays UCSB in a home and away Tuesday series. UCLA also plays Fullerton in a home and away Tuesday series, which seemingly could be very helpful or hurtful for post season seeding. I would not imagine the NCAA would be all that swayed by the relative results of teams using their 4th starters (but I would also not have imagined the NCAA would punish the women's soccer team for losing at North Carolina 1-0 in early September, so there is the random factor at play here also).
UCLA plays Arizona State in Tempe and Oregon State in Corvallis. We play Arizona, Stanford and Oregon at home.
The telling stretch could be 11 games against preseason ranked opponents in the space of 12 games from April 29 at UCSB through May 18 at home vs. Oregon. During this stretch, the Bruins play at UCSB 1 game, home vs. Stanford for 3, home vs. Fullerton for 1, on the road for 3 at Oregon State, catch our breadth (relatively, but not really) with 1 game at UC Irvine, and then home vs. Oregon for 3 (final home games of the regular season).
UCLA's only non conference extended road trip is to Cary, NC, now one of our favorite towns in America after the women's soccer team championship. Their opponents in Cary include Notre Dame and Michigan, both unranked, and North Carolina State, ranked 10th in the preseason poll, in front of what should be a Wolfpack home crowd.
Go Bruins !!