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Friday Roundup & Notes

Today roundup is going to be very baseball heavy, since the tournament action gets underway this afternoon/evening. If you haven't done so already make sure to read our Rye's excellent preview of our Bruins tourney appearance. The Daily Bruin's Andrew Howard has a writeup on 2nd seeded Bruins matchup up against 3rd seeded Pepperdine Waves. Bruins are excited about starting the "second season":

When the No. 2-seeded Bruin baseball team takes the field against No. 3 seed Pepperdine (35-20) today at Blair Field in the Long Beach Regional, it will be the start of a new season.

No longer will the Bruins be 30-26 overall and 14-10 in Pac-10 play; their record will stand at 0-0. In the minds of the players and coaches, this weekend’s regional in Long Beach is a new chapter and a fresh start for the team.

"We have made it a new season," coach John Savage said of the team’s mentality going into this weekend’s Long Beach Regional. "We are 0-0. We are looking to take a step further this season and taking it one pitch at a time, one game at a time. Our goal is to win the tournament this weekend, but we can’t do that if we don’t win the first game. We are focused on (today’s) game, working hard in practice, and we should be ready for the weekend." [...]

"We are looking at it like a second season," senior pitcher Tyson Brummett said. "We are 0-0 and have a new outlook. We hold our destiny in our hands and need to go out there and get the first win, and then keep the wins coming. It’s a new chapter for us."

That first game comes today against Pepperdine, a team the Bruins have had tremendous success against this season. On April 17 at Jackie Robinson Stadium, the Bruins won 6-2 with relative ease. The two teams faced off again at Pepperdine on May 8 and the Bruins won 4-1.

Still, the team is adamant about not taking the Waves lightly in their regional matchup just because of their success against them this season. Unlike the previous two meetings, both teams will be throwing their No. 1 arms. The Bruins will start Brummett, a three-time Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week. During the regular season, Brummett posted a record of 9-5, a 3.60 ERA, struck out 103 batters, and had seven complete games.

On the mound for the Waves will be junior Barry Enright, who posted a 12-4 record and an ERA of 1.73 during the regular season. Enright has also received many accolades this season, such as being a third-team All-American and a semi-finalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. Enright will present a new challenge for the Bruins this time around.
It will be very interesting to see how our guys come out today. I didn't get to watch the games last year. But from I read it sounded like inexperience caught up with them last season. It will be worth watching how they handle themselves this year. Hopefully Blair Field (LBSU's stadium) is flooded with lots of Bruin fans today.

Because of the start of the tourney our guys are in the spotlight. DN's Heather Gripp has a profile on freshman outfielder - Pac-10 conference co-newcomer of the year - Gabe Cohen:
The UCLA baseball team is glad Gabe Cohen didn't have a season like this last year.

If he had, Cohen might not have ended up playing for the Bruins.

After failing to live up to lofty expectations that had made him a candidate for last year's MLB draft, Cohen enrolled at UCLA, where the El Camino Real High of Woodland Hills graduate is the Bruins' leading hitter and the Pacific-10 Conference Co-Newcomer of the Year.

Cohen is hitting .357 with 10home runs and 33 RBIs.

The freshman outfielder's next challenge is to try to help UCLA advance past the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2000. The Bruins open the postseason today against Pepperdine as the No. 2 seed in the four-team, double-elimination Long Beach Regional.
We are glad Cohen ended up at UCLA instead of some powdunk minor league town toiling away for a chance at the (steroid filled) big league action.

While DN profiled a Bruin freshman lighting up the conference this season, the LAT zeroed in on the season of a savvy fifth year senior outfielder - Will Penniall - who has persevered through some turbulent times in Westwood to finish off with a flourish:
When the old coach left, Will Penniall stayed with the UCLA baseball team.

When the team sunk to depths rarely before seen, Penniall elevated his level of play.

And when the new coach took away his starting job, Penniall took it as a personal challenge.

But through it all, he never once thought about quitting — patience that paid off.

Penniall, who last year batted .211 as a part-time player, is batting .311 this season and will start in left field when UCLA opens against Pepperdine today at 3 p.m. in an NCAA regional at Blair Field in Long Beach. Illinois Chicago plays Long Beach State at 7 p.m. in the second game at Blair on a day when UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton also open regional action.

"Baseball is funny," Penniall said. "Things can change real quick. You play it long enough, you'll see it all."
Reading these couple of stories made me think of the team from Howland's second season when we were reading stories about Dijon Thompson persevering through the Lavin nightmares and finally salvaging his career under Howland's coaching, while blending in with the talents of wide eyed freshmen like Afflalo and Jordan.

Hope these guys come through tonight. I know they have beaten the Pepperdine earlier this season. But the Waves are not going to be pushover. Those guys have piled up a lot of tourney experience over the years as a program. It will be a huge step for our program if we can pull off a big win tonight.

Moving on from baseball there is big story in the world of college hoops. Donovan is leaving Florida, which is going to leave the defending national champions in a huge hole. I really don't see that program rebounding and from hereon out I don't think Florida is going to be anything more than an afterthought - a good basketball program - looking up at elite programs such as UNC, Kentucky, and of course U.C.L.A.

Lastly in terms of people leaving and moving, a note from the LAT. J.D. Adande is leaving the Trojan Times. No tears over here. Adande along with Plaschke is two of the worst sports columnists in America. The guy never offered any original take. I still remember how he put down UCLA's hiring of Howland, writing a nonsense column saying UCLA could have done better. Just like most of his colleagues in that newspaper he was usually clueless. I am sure Randey Harvey, the LAT editor is already on the phone with Southern Cal SID to figure out who he needs to call to fill the role of another Trojan lapdog.