June 23, 2013
Both teams will be gunning for their first national baseball championship.
Heading into the championship series, UCLA has won nine in a row. The Bruins finished third in the Pac-12 this season with a 21-9 conference record behind Oregon St. and Oregon.
Mississippi St. finished fifth in the SEC regular season with a 16-14 record and caught fire in the NCAA tournament by winning eight of its last nine games.
Ball clubs from these two powerhouse conferences have won seven of the last eight CWS titles. Overall, current Pac-12 teams have won 27 national baseball championships.
SEC teams have won nine College World Series The UCLA-Mississippi St. championship series matchup will be the fifth time in CWS history that the Pac-12 and SEC have squared off in the finals (other years being 1977, 2000, 2010, 2012). It is the sixth straight year an SEC team has made it to the CWS final.
Both teams rolled through their 4-team brackets with 3-0 records and feature All-American closers in David Berg of UCLA (23 saves, 7-0, 0.96 ERA) and Jonathan Holder of Mississippi St. (21 saves, 1.24 ERA).
Here is a quick look at both teams:
UCLA: The Bruins’ pitching and defense rank No. 1 in the College World Series. UCLA has given up only three runs in three games(1.00 ERA) as the pitching staff has struck out 18 batters with six walks and only allowed 17 hits in 27 innings. On defense, the Bruins have only committed one error in three games for a .991 fielding percentage and turned two double plays while not allowing a stolen base. On offense, UCLA ranks dead last at the College World Series with a .182 batting average after three games. But the team has been resourceful in scoring eight runs on 16 hits. When batters do get on base, they are usually sacrifice bunted into scoring position. And a timely hit brings those runners home. UCLA beat LSU 2-1, N.C. State 2-1 and North Carolina 4-1 in their bracket to advance to the championship series.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs lead all College World Series teams with a .297 batting average after three games with five doubles, one home run and 14 runs scored. The pitching staff has a 2.33 ERA after three games and only allowed seven earned runs. But the bullpen has been special as it has only allowed two runs in 14 1/3 innings. The defense has committed three errors in three games with four double plays and only allowed one stolen base. Mississippi St. came from behind to win its first two games of the College World Series in its bracket (5-4 over Oregon St., 5-4 over Indiana) but never trailed in a 4-1 win over Oregon St.