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Roundup From BN Walk: News & Notes

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So we begin today’s walk on a down beat note. The season came to an end for the baseball team last night. And again it was the Fullerton Titans who sent the Bruins back home. From the Daily Bruin:

With his team trailing by a run with two outs in the ninth, junior third baseman Jermaine Curtis stepped up to the plate.

Junior center fielder Tim Murphy, who led off the inning with a single, stood at third representing the tying run.

Curtis slapped a sharp line drive to center field, but the ball sailed right into center fielder Josh Fellhauer’s glove. The catch ended the game and the Bruins’ season – a season that began with great expectations.

Though this season differed from the last in many ways, each had the same result. Like a year ago at Goodwin Field, the No. 2 UCLA baseball was eliminated by No. 1 Cal State Fullerton, this time falling a win short of reaching its second consecutive NCAA Super Regional appearance.

After UCLA won the first matchup between the two teams on Friday night, it was unable to put Fullerton away in the final two games of the regional. The Bruins never seemed to capitalize on opportunities in their 5-4 defeat on Monday night in front of 3,012 fans.

In the most important game of the year, coach John Savage sent freshman left-hander Rob Rasmussen to the mound in hopes of obtaining the final win. Rasmussen, making his second career start, gave up three runs on six hits in three innings pitched.

Here is the recap from the official site which ended with the following notes:

The UCLA baseball team ended its season having become the first team in program history to advance to the postseason for three consecutive seasons...UCLA finished its 2008 campaign with a 33-27 overall record, totaling 33 wins or more for the third straight season - the last time the Bruins accomplished that feat was from 1985-1987...four Bruins earned All-Fullerton Regional honors - Brandon Crawford, Jermaine Curtis, Alden Carrithers and Casey Haerther...Haerther moved into a three-way tie for third place on UCLA's single-season doubles list, delivering his team-leading 23rd double of the season in the top of the fourth inning (Bill Scott, 2000; Tim DeCinces, 1995; Eric Karros, 1987).

No doubt the program has gone to a different level under the leadership of John Savage. However, according to rye whose opinion hold a lot of weight around these parts when it comes to UCLA baseball, it was a disappointing season.  From my perspective I started following the team closely after the end of the basketball season this spring. I was heartened by the fact they were able to make a late season push even though they had a pretty difficult schedule. But it is still a disappointing end of the season. Hopefully they will be able to put together a more complete season next year and get the proverbial monkey off their back if they take on the Titans again in the post season.

But no worries. Hunt for Bru-104 is not over. As was pointed here yesterday the track team still has a shot. And you can read all the details here.

Moving on to football, Dohn posted a lot of tibbits on recruiting yesterday on his blog. He started out by posting a (partial) list of the OL offers UCLA has made this season. If you read through the list, you will notice lot of them are not from Southern California. The reason we hear is that this year is not a prime year for OL talent in So Cal prep scene. Moreover, CRN is also working hard to take advantage of UCLA’s brand at a national level. More from Dohn:

I spoke to UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel recently about recruiting, and how it appeared the Bruins were taking on a more national approach rather than focusing so much energy in Southern California.
He said part of the reason this year it seems like that is because it is not a great year for talent in SoCal, especially along the line of scrimmage, where UCLA needs lots of help.
"If we could do it without leaving Southern California, that would be great,'' Neuheisel said. "However, I think UCLA is also a national name, and I think it is important we recruit some places outside of this area. We're working hard to drum up some guys abroad. That's what going on. This is an anomaly because usually you can get all the players you need in state."
Neuheisel also said his days as a player and assistant coach at UCLA suggest the Bruins can recruit on a national scope.
"We were able to carry the day often in recruiting,'' Neuheisel said. "I just believe we can do it. We have to go out and see what exactly can be done. But the key is not so much you go and get returns on it, but to make sure the guys you get can play."

Makes sense to me. One of the guys who can play is JUCO transfer Donovan Edwards. DE has just set an official visit date for Westwood. he is being pursued by number of other Pac-10 schools including California and Southern California. He is currently “leaning towards” UCLA. If he decides to commit he will be able to come in right away and join the team this Fall.

And we will end the walk with this profile from USA Today on a certain Ben Ball warrior growing into a Laker star (emphasis added):

Jordan Farmar is frisky and fresh, a young NBA point guard who appears to be accelerating toward the Avenue of the Stars in the world of pro basketball.

The energetic Los Angeles Laker, a critical piece of the team's bench rotation, believes he already could be a luminary in the league. The SoCal kid is that good — and, yes, he knows it. Farmar, 21, also is intelligent enough to realize that being a household name and being a champion might not be complementary goals at this juncture.

"I didn't think in my wildest dreams I'd be drafted by the Lakers. I feel extremely blessed," he said Monday after practice. "At times I say, 'Man, this is pretty incredible. I'm actually a part of this.' I'm trying to make the most of it. It's been a great ride. Nothing better than to top it off with a championship."

The former high school star and second-year guard from UCLA — imagine growing up in L.A. and playing for the Bruins and the Lakers — is an important reason why the Lakers have advanced to the Finals against the Boston Celtics, beginning with Game 1 on Thursday.

As I was saying last night when a kid grows up in or with Southern California roots and falls in love with the game of basketball, it is natural for him or her to fall in love with both the Bruins and the Lakers. They all go together. We will celebrate all of that in the coming days here on BN.