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UCLA News: Infielder Zander Clarke Commits to Bruins

Newbury Park HS infielder Zander Clarke committed Wednesday to John Savage and the defending National Champions, the UCLA Bruins.

102413-ClarkeHe is a 6-foot-4 senior that has been one of the top infielders in the Marmonte League.

Last season as a junior he hit .316 (25-for-79) with two home runs and 17 RBIs as the Panthers went 8-19 overall and 3-11 in the Marmonte League. He also added an on-base percentage of .393.

He had a fielding percentage of .936, turning eight double plays, making 18 assists and committing 10 errors, converting 128 putouts in 156 chances.

Clarke was named a 2013 Underclass Honorable Mention by PerfectGame.org.

He was also interested in playing at Harvard and Stanford.

UCLA wins CWS, National Championship

UCLA wins National Championship

The rich get richer as the UCLA Bruins secured an 8-0 shutout victory over Mississippi State to sweep the best-of-3 game CWS Championship Series and win its first National Championship in baseball.

[table],1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,R,H,E
Mississippi State Bulldogs Mississippi State Bulldogs (51-20),0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,5,3
LOGO-UCLA UCLA Bruins (49-17),1,0,2,2,0,1,0,2,x,8,12,1
W: Nick Vander Tuig (14-4)
L: Luis Pollorena (6-4)
UCLA wins series 2-0
[/table]

UCLA Baseball on Twitter

UCLA topped Mississippi State to win its first baseball National Championship Tuesday night.Yes, it’s true. The UCLA Bruins have added to their trophy case, adding National Championship No. 109, with its 8-0 shutout victory Tuesday night against Mississippi State.

Eric Filia had a career-best five RBIs in the win, and got things started in the first inning as he drove in Brian Carroll on a sacrifice fly to right field, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

It was all they needed as Nick Vander Tuig held the Bulldogs to five hits in 8.0 innings pitched, which included threats in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings. He would shrug it off with six strike outs, while walking one batter.

The victory was his fourth of the NCAA tournament.

Closer David Berg would wrap things up in the ninth inning — just as he has all season, helping the Bruins and coach John Savage secure their first championship in baseball in their third trip to Omaha in four seasons.

In 2010 the Bruins behind now-MLB hurlers Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Trevor Bauer (Indians) were swept by SEC foe South Carolina.

Bruins’ ace Adam Plutko was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, allowing just two runs in 13.0 innings pitched, an ERA of 1.38.

The hurler was an 11th round selection by the Cleveland Indians in this year’s MLB Draft.

But back to the Bruins, whose offense was one of the worst in recent CWS memory, but backed up by some of the best pitching in the tournament’s history.

UCLA’s .227 batting average was the lowest since teams went away from wood bats in 1974. Its 19 runs in five games is the fewest by a champion since the CWS went to eight teams in 1950.

Meanwhile, the Bruins allowed just four runs in five games at the CWS, a record in the metal-bat era.

UCLA headed to the Final, defeats UNC, 4-1

The UCLA Bruins are headed back to the CWS championship series after setting down the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels, 4-1 Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

David Berg, UCLA’s closer, entered the ballgame with a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning, leading the nation with 23 saves and a 0.85 ERA.

Little did he know what was in store for him — as the Tar Heels opened the inning with a pair of singles by Cody Stubbs and Skye Bolt. Still, coach John Savage showed confidence in his closer, who was awarded with the 2013 NCBWA Stopper of the Year.

The next batter, Michael Russell, drew a five-pitch walk, loading the bases with nobody out.

Sweating, Berg, finally got Mike Zolk to ground into a fielder’s choice, allowing Stubbs to score, but leaving runners at first and third with one out.

He’d then seem to return to form, striking out Parks Jordan swinging on a back-door slider, garnering the second out of the inning for the Bruins.

It allowed Chaz Frank to step up to the plate, a player the Bruins didn’t want on the basepaths as he is a rabbit.

Berg had him 1-2 in the count before throwing two straight balls to fill it up. The following pitch would be fouled off before Berg served up ball four — once again loading the bases, and putting the pressure on the Bruins once more.

UCLA needed just one win to advance to the CWS Championship Series. However, North Carolina needed to win two straight against the Bruins, and seemingly was oozing with confidence at this point.

Up to the plate came Landon Lassiter, who was 3-4 on the evening, and hitting .500 for the CWS.

On a 1-2 count, Berg finally got his wish, getting Lassiter to pop out to center field, allowing UCLA to get back to the Final of the CWS Championship, the school’s second trip in four years. It fell to South Carolina 2-0 in 2010.

Box Score [table]
, ,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,H,R,E
LOGO-UNCNo. 1 North Carolina, ,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,1,7,1
>>LOGO-UCLA UCLA, ,0,1,0,0,0,1,2,0,x,4,6,0


W,Grant Watson
L,Kent Emanuel
[/table]

For those wondering what could have been, Colin Moran stood on deck — he led the nation with 91 RBIs, and was salivating at the opportunity to make the Tar Heels’ coming a reality.

But it was not to be on Friday night, and the Bruins will join the Bulldogs of Mississippi State on Monday night at 5 p.m. PT in Game 1 of the CWS Championship Series from Omaha.

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