2013 Los Angeles Regional

(capsules compiled by Sean Ryan, Phil Stanton, Zachary Kerr)


1. UCLA Bruins

Los Angeles, California

At-large bid from Pac-12

Notes: UCLA is back in the NCAA tourney field for the seventh time in eight seasons and will be shooting for its third trip to Omaha in the past four years (2010, 2012). Coach John Savage was the CollegeBaseballInsider.com National Coach of the Year in 2010 (he also was a finalist for CBI coach of the year in 2004 when he coached UC Irvine). The Bruins boast one of the best pitching staffs in the country – three solid starters in Nick Vander Tuig, Adam Plutko and Grant Watson one of the nation’s best closers in David Berg (CBI Feature on UCLA). Vander Tuig, whose brother Ryan played baseball at San Jose State, is 14th in the nation in WHIP and leads the team in wins. Berg had a scoreless inning streak of 37 innings snapped in the last game of the season, and the sidearmer has been downright filthy, limiting hitters to a .186 average and striking out one per inning. Opponents hit only .164 off reliever James Kaprielian. No Bruins regular hits better than .300 as the team averages just under five runs a game. Shane Zeile is the son of former major leaguer Todd Zeile.


2. Cal Poly Mustangs
Notes: The Mustangs are in the field for the second time in school history (2009) after a second-place finish in the Big West. Cal Poly opened the season by winning 13 of 14 and closed by winning 11 of 14 en route to a Division I school-record 39 wins. Coach Larry Lee finished his playing career at Pepperdine, where in 1982 hit 13 sacrifice flies, good for a tie for second in the NCAA record book. Ace Joey Wagman is an innings eater who has gone 21-6 the past two years and has 26 career wins. He ranks fourth in the country in wins with 12 and leads a staff that is 11th in the nation in Ks per nine innings and 12th in strikeout/walk ratio. Scoring has been a bit of a problem as the Mustangs average 5.1 runs a game. Denver Chavez leads the way at .362 and has a bit of pop, with 14 doubles and three triples. Nick Torres slugs a team-best .530 and has 26 extra-base hits, including 19 doubles.

3. San Diego Toreros
Notes: The Toreros are playing in the Los Angeles Regional for the second straight year after winning the West Coast Conference tourney title, the first year the conference has had a tournament. Coach Rich Hill has guided USD to six WCC titles since 2002; prior to his arrival at San Diego, Hill was the head coach at San Francisco from 1994-98. Kris Bryant has put together one of the best offensive seasons in all of college baseball over the past few years. Bryant leads the nation in home rungs, slugging percentage, runs and walks and is 24th in RBI (he averages better than a walk a game). Dillon Haupt ranks in the top 50 in homers and RBI to support Bryant.  P.J. Conlon has become a starter on the mound and is unbeaten, allowing hitters a .239 average. And all-world closer Michael Wagner, who transitioned to a starter this year, is back in the bullpen, giving the Toreros a proven boost.

4. San Diego State Aztecs
Notes: The Aztecs return to the field for the first time since 2009, when Stephen Strasburg led SDSU to a Regional. San Diego State upended top-seed New Mexico twice to capture the crown, thanks in large part to Ty France, who had 16 hits and a .372 average in six tourney games. Coach Tony Gwynn played baseball and basketball at SDSU and went on to win eight batting titles and make 15 All-Star appearances with the San Diego Padres. He still owns the Aztecs basketball records for assists in a season and career. France, a freshman, ranked third on the team in hitting and his two homers at the conference tourney gave him a team-leading five on the year. Tim Zier is steady all-around the field and leads the Aztecs in hitting. Freshman closer Bubba Derby made a splash in the opening-weekend sweep of San Diego and finished with a solid 4-3 record with 10 saves. Aztec pitchers take advantage of a defense that ranks 14th in the nation in fielding percentage (.978). Michael Cederoth ranks 20th in the country with 10.29 strikeouts per nine innings.