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UCLA baseball: Bruins set up to win arms race this weekend

May 31, 2010 |  2:33 pm


UCLA baseball Coach John Savage has one of those enviable problems.

While most college baseball coaches juggle staffs diluted by the Major League Baseball draft and damaged by aluminum bats, Savage can arrange his pitching staff for this weekend’s regional like a decorator.

“We’ll decide tomorrow what direction we’ll go,” Savage said Monday. “We’ll look at all the teams in the regional and see who matches up best.”

Such is the luxury of having four starters -- Trevor Bauer (9-3, 2.84), Rob Rasmussen (9-2, 2.89), Garett Claypool (8-3, 2.05) or Gerrit Cole (9-2, 3.27). All are more than capable, giving UCLA an edge this weekend. The Bruins (43-13) play Kent State (39-23) while UC Irvine (37-19) faces LSU (40-20) in openers at Jackie Robinson Field.

Both LSU and Kent State enter the regional with team earned-run averages above 5.00. UC Irvine has had to massage its rotation after ace Daniel Bibona injured his ribcage a month again. UCLA, on the other pitching hand, comes in with a 3.02 ERA, second only to Texas (2.53) nationally.

“I keep hearing about the Texas pitching staff, but it would be hard to conceive of one that’s deeper than UCLA,” Irvine Coach Mike Gillespie said. “Most of us can only dream about what UCLA has got.”

The Bruins depth goes beyond its rotation. Dan Klein is 5-0 with nine saves and a 2.13 ERA as the team’s closer. Matt Grace and Erik Goeddel have been solid in relief. “We’ll go with the guy who we fill gives us the best chance to win.”

For UCLA this season, that could be a number of pitchers.

--Chris Foster

Photo: UCLA starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. Credit: Don Liebig / UCLA Photography