2012 Record: 48-16
2012 Finish: UCLA wrapped up its regular season going 9-1 in its final 10 games. The Bruins kept on rolling all the way to Omaha, sweeping their regional defeating Creighton and New Mexico. Up next, TCU came to town and left just like that after dropping the first two games to UCLA. The Bruins’ next opponent was the Cinderella Story in Stony Brook, who had just finished off LSU. The Bruins handled the Seawolves with ease, racking up a 9-1 win. That would be the final win for UCLA in 2012 as it dropped the next two games at the hands of Arizona and Florida State.
The story for the No. 5 UCLA Bruins is their pitching staff, which is the case for most years. But this staff returns its best four starters in Adam Plutko (12-3, 2.48 ERA), Nick Vander Tuig (10-4, 4.43 ERA), Grant Watson (9-2, 4.45 ERA) and Zack Weiss (3-3, 4.28 ERA). That is a ton of wins coming back from the 2012 season.
Sophomore David Berg, who pitched in 50 games in 2012 with a 1.46 ERA, will be a pivotal piece to the Bruins’ bullpen this season. Junior right-hander Ryan Deeter also will be a huge plus for the Bruins. He returns after posting a 0.89 ERA in 36 appearances in 2012.
Offensively, the Bruins lose a ton of fire power from the 2012 squad. Leading the way will be junior Kevin Williams, who is the only returning starter to hit better than a .300 average. Williams collected 48 hits and 21 RBIs last season and will have to keep that up.
Luckily, the Bruins’ pitching staff is insane. which will be a huge help as UCLA tries to break in a bunchof new comers at the plate.
Key Series: The Battle for California likely will end between either Stanford or UCLA, which makes the last series of the season such a big one for both teams. If things go as planned, this will be one of those series you would not want to miss.