What a huge weekend for UCLA athletics. Starting on Friday UCLA softball, baseball, and tennis teams went a combined 8-0 in their games either staying on track for championships.
We will start with our baseball team which gave its chances for making the playoffs a huge boost by sweeping the Cougars at Jackie Robinson stadium:
Seniors Brent Dean and Alden Carrithers made sure the final home game of their careers was a memorable one.
In the bottom of the fifth inning with the score tied 0-0 with two outs, Dean and Carrithers hit consecutive RBI singles to put the Bruins up 2-0, providing all the runs the UCLA baseball team would need in a 2-1 win over Washington State (28-25, 6-15 Pac-10) on Sunday. The win completed a series sweep for the Bruins (29-23, 11-10), who won 10-0 on Friday and 7-6 in 10 innings on Saturday.
It was the Bruins’ first sweep of the conference season, and it helped them jump from a sixth-place tie in the Pac-10 standings to a third-place tie with California, greatly improving their chances of earning a spot in the postseason.
"The position that we were in before the series started, we were kind of borderline," Carrithers said. "So to come in here and get a sweep was definitely big for our future in making the playoffs."
Despite the inconsistencies that have plagued the team throughout the season, both players and coaches said after the game that the Bruins are finally beginning to play up to their potential.
"Our coach reestablished our goals after we lost that game up at Oregon State Friday night," Dean said. "Since that game, I think we’ve really played well. A lot of guys have contributed everyday. Seniors have stepped up a lot, juniors, sophomores, freshmen – all the way around, I think we’re starting to flow a little more together. A little more chemistry, and this is what we’ve been waiting for all year."
Bruins have 4 games left in the regular season. They are all on the road: 1 at CSUF and a 3 game weekend trip up in Strawberry Canyon. I get the sense of the Bruins can split their remaining games, they might still have a shot at the playoffs. Winning 3 of the next 4 should pretty much gurantee them a spot in the post season. I imagine Rye can give us a better perspective on what needs to be done in these next four games to have a shot at the playoffs. But either way a huge weekend for the team and hopefully it will give them all the confidence it needs heading into this last week of the regular season.
While the baseball team is scratching and clawing to make the post season, the softball took care of business in its first round of the post season by streaking to 3 straight wins at Easton. From the Daily Bruin:
The Bruins faced the Wolf Pack again on Sunday afternoon in the regional championship game, with both teams fighting for a berth in the Super Regionals.
A more composed and effective Selden returned to the circle allowing only five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in a full seven innings to take a 4-3 win.
"Better focus – it’s as simple as that," Selden said of her stronger performance.
Camuso provided the game-changing hit in Sunday’s game, taking an outside pitch over the opposite field wall to break a 3-3 tie in the sixth. Seven Bruins recorded hits against Nevada hurlers, with two (Camuso and Langenfeld) recording two.
"So many people can step up and be the one in our lineup, and today it was Jelly Selden and Sammy Camuso," Inouye-Perez said. "That is a big part of our strength, and we have been so successful because so many people can step up. And I couldn’t be more proud of how the team pulled (off) a big win today against a team that wouldn’t back down."
Bruins will now take on #15 Georgia next Saturday and Sunday at Easton Stadium. Saturday's Game 1 will start at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN, while Game 2 will be played on Sunday at 4 p.m. and aired on ESPN2. If a Game 3 is necessary, it will take place 30 minutes after Game 2 on ESPN2. In other words we will have more double header open game threads up and running next weekend.
Not to be out done, out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the men’s tennis team (ranked no. 3 in the country) is going to the Final-4 (to follow the women’s team which also made the Final-4 on Saturday by sweeping Arkansas) by knocking out the Trojans in Elite Eight. The men’s team will be taking on no. 7 Longhorns today at 3:00 pm PST, while the #7 ranked women’s team will be taking on #6 Florida Gators today at 10 am PST. Let’s hope both squads can keep the Bruin freight train rolling.