Pretty simple. Both softball and baseball teams have to win two games today to keep any championship hopes alive. If they lose their first game, they are done. First, let's talk about softball. They beat a great Texas team led by an incredible athlete in Cat Osterman. Cat of course has a following of her own over at BON. She is amazing (in many ways). But our Jelly (superstar Anjelica Selden) stared down Cat again and pulled of a 2-0 win beating Texas again. Bruins had eliminated Texas in two of Cat's previous appearances:
UCLA ended Osterman's remarkable collegiate career with a 2-0 victory over her Texas Longhorns Saturday night in the Women's College World Series behind a sparkling performance from sophomore pitcher Anjelica Selden, who struck out 12 in a three-hit shutout.
UCLA eliminated Texas in all three of Osterman's WCWS appearances.
Osterman, the NCAA's all-time strikeout leader, had nine strikeouts in her final game, but she was felled by an unorthodox inside-outside combination.
Inside the park, outside the park that is.
UCLA leadoff batter Andrea Duran led off the third inning with an inside-the-park home run to right field. One inning later, UCLA catcher Emily Zaplatosch hit a solo shot over the left field fence to account for all of the Bruins' scoring.
Duran is an amazing athlete. They all are.
The Bruins now have to beat Northwestern twice today (I believe) to get their shot for championship number 100. Nortwestern unlike their football team is not a pushover. They beat our softball team in Westwood earlier in the season by a score of 3-2. So tune into ESPN today at 12 pm PST and find out what happened on our road to 100 in Sooner land. Let's hope these champions can bring it home:
Second we have the baseball team. Our boys will be fighting for their (playoff) lives out at the beach (sounds like a tough life). They are taking on Missouri in an elimination game. The game time is set for 11 am PST. If they win that game they will have to take on Pepperdine again around 3 pm PST. Details from the official site. Tall order for a young team as many of its members are getting their first taste of NCAA playoffs. Again no matter what happens big ups to Coach Savage for pulling off the remarklable turnaround in his second season. He has a program that is making discernable progress just like the basketball team, but unlike the football one.
So what is at stake again besides championships, championship no. 100? Well Bruins are in a fight with Stanford for the Director's Cup, the award given to the no. 1 athletic program in the country by the end of the season. Here is the low down from the Stanford Daily:
Runners-up in men's basketball and women's soccer, the Bruins have currently clinched 1,001 points, 110 fewer than Stanford. But while Stanford will not add to its total if the seedings hold, UCLA figures to pick up 84 points in the remaining sports -- baseball, softball, men's golf, and men's and women's outdoor track.
Those results pull the Bruins within 26 of the Cardinal. And with both schools scoring in the thousands, a 26-point margin is a virtual dead heat, and just one more UCLA win than expected could end the Stanford dynasty.
But, for Stanford, the Directors' Cup is half-full too. With baseball and track lowly regarded entering NCAAs, a strong finish from either squad could add a payload of unexpected points to the Cardinal ledger, putting a serious dent into UCLA's title chances. In the same vein, top-ranked UCLA softball is projected to claim the title and the 100 points that go with it, so anything less could prove costly.
With a projected 10 top-10 finishes, UCLA has strung together its strongest season in school history, so Stanford -- and especially the women -- deserve credit for keeping pace in a down year. Of Stanford's 1,111 points, nearly 700 come from women. That mark will easily be tops in the country.
So it's all a big deal.
Good luck to our men and women today. If you are in Southland head out to the Beach and support the boys in blue and gold.