Super Regional Preview

Bumped. Another home run from Rye. GO BRUINS. N

After blowing through the Long Beach regional, the UCLA Bruin baseball team continues its road to Omaha this weekend when they take on the Cal State Fullerton Titans at Goodwin Field on the Fullerton campus. This will be the Bruins first Super Regional since 2000 and first in the John Savage era. They reached the Super Regional on the backs of their pitchers who were stellar in last weekend's regional. Sr. RHP Tyson Brummett got the win for the Bruins in the regional opener against Pepperdine, then Fr. LHP Gavin Brooks and So. LHP Tim Murphy took care of business themselves in wins over Illinois-Chicago and Long Beach St. Now the Bruins set their eyes on a bigger goal...the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Bruins' team motto all year has been "one team, one dream," that dream being a trip to Omaha. Now they are 2 wins away from attaining that dream. The Bruins will play the Titans this weekend in a 3 game series, the first game Saturdy at 4 pm on ESPN, the second on Sunday at 7 pm on ESPN2 and the third, if necessary, on Monday at 4 pm on ESPN2. The Bruins will be looking for their first College World Series since 1997 and 3rd overall, while the Titans are a national powerhouse in search of their 15th appearance in Omaha and 4th in the past 5 years. The Bruins and Titans played a 3 game series earlier this season with the Bruins taking the opener at Goodwin Field before the Titans took the next 2 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

In Saturday's Super Regional opener, UCLA's Tyson Brummett will toe the rubber against Fullerton's Sr. RHP Wes Roemer. The 2 pitchers are conisdered 2 of the best on the west coast and in the country and their numbers are very similar. Roemer is 10-6 with a 3.33 ERA, while Brummett is 10-5 with a 3.57 ERA so this game should be a dandy for all those watching. It is considered one of th better pitching matchups in the Super Regionals this season so there should be plenty of buzz entering the game and if it is like their matchup earlier this season, the Bruins will walk away happy.

Saturday's game will see UCLA's Brooks face Fullerton's Jr. RHP Jeff Kaplan. If Brooks pitches anything like he has the past couple games then UCLA will be in great shape. Brook's last 2 starts have both been complete games in which he has given up a combined 5 hits. His strongest start of the season came with the most pressure he has faced last weekend in the regionals. In a key winner's bracket game, Brooks stared down the Illiois-Chicago Flames and blew them away, going all 9 innings, giving up only 1 unearned run and 2 hits while striking out 7 in a performance that landed him on the All-Regional team. If Brooks can have a similar performance this weekend then his offense will only need to push across a couple runs against Fullerton's tough righty Kaplan. Kaplan has been stellar for the Titans this season, giving them a good #2 starter. He has 11-3 record this season and 3.35 ERA courtesy of very good control and a breaking ball that falls off the table. The Bruins found out about that the hard way earlier this season when Kaplan allowed only 3 runs in 6 2/3 innings pitched, however that Bruin offense was missing their jumpstarter in So. 3B Jermaine Curtis who is now back in the lineup.

Offensively, it sppears UCLA has the advantage with the combination of power and speed. Curtis, the Bruins leadoff man, was named Long Beach regional MVP for his stellar play that saw him bat .500 and hit a key homer in their final game of the regional. Jr. 2B Alden Carrithers also played well for the Bruins, as did So. DH Cody Decker. So. SS Brandon Crawford struggled before coming alive late in the regional, but Fr. OF Gabe Cohen picked up the slack. So. C Ryan Babineau was a rock for the Bruin behind the plate and at the dish, batting over .500 and playing good team ball with his 3 scrafice bunts. The Titans are led at the plate by Jr. OF Clark Hardman who batted .389 this season and scored 51 runs. It is imperative that the Bruins keep Hardman off base so Jr. 1B Nick Mahin, who hit 9 homers this seson, does not come to the plate with runners on. If UCLA can keep Hardman off the bases, it will stunt a Fullerton offense that is not very good or deep. However if Hardman or anyone else reaches base, the Titans are very good at executing sacrafices and hit and runs to maximize the few chances they get at scoring.

This likely the biggest weekend in UCLA baseball since their appearance in the 1997 College World Series. Coach John Savage has revived a normally mediocre program and is taking it to heights it has never seen before so all Bruins fans who are even remotely close to Fullerton, check out this team this weekend. For all those around the country tune in to ESPN on Saturday then ESPN2 on Sunday and Monday and become engulfed in college baseball, one of the country's best kept secrets. Tickets for the regional are nearly gone as general admission seats are sold out and the few reserved seats available figure to be gone within the next few hours. It'd be great to see 1,000-1,500 of Goodwin Field's 3,500 seats filled with blue and gold so check out a game this weekend. I'm curious who will be at the games so if you're going comment below and let us know how many from BN will be there this weekend.

John Savage did an interview yesterday with radio so check it out here.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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