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Roundup From the BN Walk: News & Notes

We will begin our Saturday BN walk with bad news. First, the bad news:

The UCLA baseball team fell to Oregon State, 10-1, at Goss Stadium in a Pac-10 series opener Friday evening before 2,436 fans. Oregon State right-hander Mike Stutes (3-6) logged his first complete game of the season, allowing one run and four hits while totaling nine strikeouts for the host Beavers (23-18, 10-9 Pac-10).

Bruin left-hander Tim Murphy (3-6) was tagged with the loss, exiting after recording four outs. Murphy allowed six runs off one hit and six walks through 1.1 innings for UCLA (24-22, 7-9 Pac-10).

Oregon State was led offensively by center fielder Chris Hopkins and catcher Erik Ammon, as each player went 2-for-3. Hopkins and third baseman Garett Nash each scored a team-leading two runs, and Ammon led the Beavers with a three RBI.

Needless to say a disappointing and disheartening start to what is supposed to be a must win series if our guys want to make the post-season. Savage’s team will try to rebound today at 1 p.m. Right-hander Charles Brewer (6-4) will go up against OSU left-hander Tanner Robles (3-1).

We will find out whether they can fight back today. Because if they don’t … well I don’t want to write them off yet. But we would be getting close to the end.

Now onto  the good news:

The top-seeded and undefeated UCLA women's water polo team defeated eighth-seeded Pomona-Pitzer, 19-6, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year. Katie Rulon, Gabrielle Domanic and Jillian Kraus each netted hat tricks for the Bruins.

UCLA scored early and often in the first quarter, totaling seven unanswered goals. Brittany Rowe put the Bruins on the scoreboard just 52 seconds into the contest, scoring after a Tanya Gandy steal. Rulon followed with a pair of goals in a two-minute span, first capitalizing on a Courtney Mathewson steal and then going end-to-end to score a minute later to put UCLA ahead 3-0. Anne Belden scored two consecutive goals of her own, and freshman Priscilla Orozco notched her first NCAA goal with a looping shot past the goalkeeper with 1:44 left on the clock. Domanic finished the first quarter scoring onslaught with her first goal at 1:02.

The Bruins opened up a 9-0 lead after notching two more goals - by Domanic and Kraus - to start the second quarter. Pomona-Pitzer stepped it up, with freshman Tamara Perea scoring back-to-back goals. Orozco scored her second goal of the game to give UCLA a 10-2 lead, but Perea scored again on a power play a minute later to cut into the Bruins' lead. A Domanic goal made it 11-3, but Laura Condon scored the Sagehens' fourth goal of the quarter with 34 seconds to play in the half.

They are amazing. Lady Bruins will take on UC Davis in the semifinals today.

Now shifting gear to our major revenue sports, WWL has this capsule on CRN in an article on how first year coaches are performing on the recruiting trail:

The smartest recruiting move Neuheisel may have made in his return to UCLA was retaining defensive coordinator and highly-touted recruiter DeWayne Walker on staff. Receiver Byron Moore Jr. (Harbor City, Calf./Narbonne) is a top national prospect, but look for the former Bruins' signal caller to try and land a top-tier QB after the rare injuries UCLA suffered at the position this spring. Don't be surprised if Under Armour All-American Josh Nunes (Upland/Calif.) quickly becomes Neuheisel's top in-state target. The hire of respected offensive coordinator Norm Chow should start to help on the offensive recruiting end.

In addition to QB and skill players we need some OL. It will be interesting to see what kind of OL talent Neuheisel and Palcic bring in this year and beyond. From what I have heard this year is down year in terms of OL talent in the West. So the Bruin coaching staff has no choice but to look into the JC ranks for some immediate help. I think they should be able to put together a class that will provide some short term help and also decent talent, who Palcic will be mold into good players in college. It all starts with a stable, consistent, and simple offensive foundation. And fortunately for us we have that with a great coaching staff.

Speaking of having a solid foundation in place, Jay Bilas from WWL tells us there is nothing to worry about in the world of Ben Ball:

UCLA supporters have taken the loss in the Final Four pretty hard. Of course, the fans, players and coaches all want to be rewarded with a championship. As has happened in the past with other programs, UCLA and Ben Howland have been questioned following three Final Fours and no titles. It may be a fair point to make, but it falls short of the full picture. No reasonable observer can argue that UCLA's accomplishments over the past three years have been anything short of remarkable. Precious few programs have cracked the insanely difficult task of reaching the Final Four three straight times. UCLA and the Bruins' fans need to internalize and accept that it is an amazing accomplishment that should be celebrated. I feel the same way about Howland that I felt about Bill Self for many years … he is the real thing, and it is only a matter of time before he wins one … or more.

Well obviously we agree with Jay's main assertion but we need to make an important point. While we all took the loss against Memphis really hard, I don’t believe there were any questions from UCLA alums and students (at least the ones who have healthy perspective when it comes to our basketball program) wrt to how Coach Howland runs his program. We know in terms of hanging a banner in Pauley, it’s a matter of time. And we are happy to be patient, while enjoying the building and development process of Coach Howland coached teams put together one fun season after another. We believe in Coach Howland. He can take his time. We don’t want him to go anywhere else. Meanwhile, we are going to stick around, watch, enjoy, and have fun following Ben Ball.