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Category: College Baseball

Stanford is No. 2, UCLA is No. 14 in preseason baseball rankings

Stanford-logo_200Florida is No. 1, Stanford No. 2 and UCLA No. 14 in Baseball America magazine's preseason college baseball top-25 rankings.

Cal State Fullerton barely made the list, coming in at No. 25.

UCLA must replace first-round draft picks Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, who helped the Bruins reach the 2010 World Series with their pitching skills.

Sophomore Adam Plutko is expected to take over as the Bruins' ace.

There are five Pac-12 teams in the top 25. Besides Stanford and UCLA, Arizona is ranked No. 5, Arizona State is No. 17 and Oregon State is No. 23.


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Congressman compares NCAA to Al Capone and the Mafia

Rush3The NCAA certainly has its share of critics -- and it looks like it can add at least one more congressman to its list of detractors.

Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, described the NCAA as "one of the most vicious, most ruthless organizations ever created by mankind" during a congressional forum on college sports Tuesday, before saying one could "compare the NCAA to Al Capone and to the Mafia."

Rush, whose district includes much of Chicago's South Side, made the comments at the forum after hearing from mothers who complained their sons were mistreated by schools after suffering injuries. The forum, which Rush said was necessary to examine the impact of "back-room deals, payoffs and scandals" in college sports, gave a grim assessment of how the NCAA and colleges handle medical hardship waivers.

The NCAA refuted Rush's claims.

“Congressman Rush obviously doesn't know the NCAA,” Bob Williams, a spokesman for the organization, said in an email to the Associated Press. “The NCAA and its member institutions provide over $2 billion per year in scholarships, financial assistance and academic support to student-athletes . . . second only to the federal government. Student-athlete success is our mission.”

Testimony at the hearing suggested the NCAA needs to do more to help students and their families shoulder healthcare-related costs stemming from injuries on the field, and to do a better job of making sure the immense revenue generated by college athletics actually makes it back to the students.

That said, calling the NCAA "one of the most vicious organizations ever created by mankind" is ignorant on Rush's part. There's no need for knee-jerk sound bites that do little to help college athletes.


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-- Austin Knoblauch

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Rep. Bobby Rush takes part in a congressional roundtable on college sports in Washington on Tuesday. Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

UCLA to play USC at Dodger Stadium on March 13

Ucla-logo_250 UCLA announced its 2012 baseball schedule on Monday, and one of the highlights is a game against rival USC on Tuesday night, March 13, at Dodger Stadium in a nonconference game.

UC Irvine will play Pepperdine at 2 p.m. on the same day at Dodger Stadium.

UCLA will open its season with a three-game home series against Maryland on Feb. 17-19. It will be the first meeting between the two schools.


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How competitive will Texas A&M be if it joins the SEC?

Photo: Texas A&M fans. Credit: David J. Phillip / Associated Press.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the topic of the day. Weigh in with a comment of your own.

Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

The idea of Texas A&M joining the Southeastern Conference isn’t sending shivers down the backs of  SEC coaches and fans, at least not yet.

To be fair, until recently, the Aggies haven’t been relevant in the college football landscape for the last decade. However, with the recent upswing in the program the addition of A&M could be good for both the school and the conference.

The school gets better exposure with games being played on national television almost every weekend while also adding an increase in revenue. The SEC would gain traction in the state of Texas for recruiting and fan base.

Texas A&M would probably join the SEC West, which means they will have to compete against the Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Auburn. If the Aggies, who were 9-4 last season, had been in the SEC West in 2010 they would have finished fifth or sixth in the division.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

Great question. You wonder if Texas A&M’s leadership has even gotten that far in weighing the pros and cons of deserting the Big 12.
We know that what’s fueling this move is the Aggies’ inferiority complex to Texas. It’s certainly not a desire to form a rivalry with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
Bottom line, the Aggies have been only marginally competitive in the Big 12 for the last 15 years. They’ve won one bowl game since 1995, and that was sponsored by a furniture company.
The temptation is to say that with A&M moving up in class to the SEC the Aggies will get crushed like a folding chair under the weight of a Longhorn. But A&M is on the rise, now in the trusty hands of Coach Mike Sherman. And, hey, it’s hard to imagine them being less competitive than they have been in the Big 12.


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Photo: Standing throughout a game, ready to suit up and play if needed, is a tradition for fans at Texas A&M's Kyle Field. Credit: David J. Phillip / Associated Press

UCLA's Trevor Bauer wins amateur baseball's top honor

Trevor-bauer_200 Pitcher Trevor Bauer of UCLA has been selected the winner of the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur baseball player in America, the U.S. Baseball Federation announced Friday.

The right-hander became the first Bruin to win the honor by leading UCLA to the NCAA tournament with a 13-2 record, a 1.25 earned-run average and nine complete games. Bauer (picture at left) led Division I pitchers with a Pacific 10 Conference record of 203 strikeouts. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Bauer third overall in the amateur draft last month.

Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, the second pick in the draft by the Seattle Mariners, and Texas right-hander Taylor Jungmann, the 12th selection by the Milwaukee Brewers, were the other finalists. It was the first time in the 34-year history of the award that all three finalists were pitchers.

-- Dan Loumena

Photo credit: Nati Harnik

Rick Vanderhook hired as Cal State Fullerton baseball coach

Fullerton1 It's official: Cal State Fullerton has hired Rick Vanderhook as its head baseball coach.

Vanderhook, 50, received a three-year contract. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed. He has been UCLA's hitting and outfield coach the past three seasons, but he is a former Fullerton player and longtime assistant. 

"It is an honor to be back as the head baseball coach at Cal State Fullerton," Vanderhook said in a statement released by the school. 

The Times reported earlier today that Vanderhook was the choice of Athletic Director Brian Quinn, who met with university President Milton A. Gordon this afternoon before making the hire official. 

"I have never met anyone with more passion for Titan baseball than Rick, and I couldn’t be happier to bring him home where he belongs," Quinn said in the school's news release.


"I have complete confidence in his ability to recruit, teach and motivate our student-athletes to compete at the highest level. He is deeply committed to the academic success of his players. I am very excited to have 'Hook' return to Cal State Fullerton."

Continue reading »

Updated: Rick Vanderhook expected to be next Cal State Fullerton baseball coach

Fullerton1 Cal State Fullerton's choice as its next baseball coach appears to be Rick Vanderhook, UCLA's hitting and outfield coach and a former Titans assistant.

The school has not announced his hiring, but Athletic Director Brian Quinn's choice was confirmed by two baseball people with knowledge of the situation. Another person close to the Fullerton program said Vanderhook "seemed to be the consensus choice." The remaining hurdle is that Vanderhook must be approved by university president Milton A. Gordon before his selection becomes official.

This is the second time Quinn has turned to a former George Horton assistant since Horton left the Titans in September 2007 for the University of Oregon.

Quinn hired Dave Serrano away from UC Irvine to replace Horton, choosing the former Titans pitching coach over Vanderhook.

Vanderhook, 50, was a player and coach at Fullerton for 21 years under Augie Garrido and then Horton. He emerged as the choice after Fullerton interviewed him and two other former Titans on Thursday.

Continue reading »

Question of the Day: Which team will win the College World Series?

Question_640 Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the College World Series. Check back throughout the day for more responses and weigh in with a comment of your own.

Chris Foster, Los Angeles Times

First, a shout-out to the California Golden Bears, who have kept the College World Series from being the National Championship of the Confederacy. But the Bears will be gone quickly.

In the end, USC will bring home another title … relax UCLA fans, that’s the other USC, South Carolina.

The Gamecocks went through all the trials a defending champion faces in trying to repeat, and came out stronger for it (are you listening, Lakers?). They went 19-6 in the Southeastern Conference after a difficult 2-1 loss to Florida on March 26. They have the pitching depth necessary to win this double elimination.

Continue reading »

College baseball: UCLA stays alive with 4-1 victory over San Francisco

Ucla-usf_300 It didn't really matter what UCLA batters did Sunday afternoon. Bruins pitcher Adam Plutko saw to that.

Plutko, a freshman, gave up one hit in 7 2/3 innings and the Bruins avoided elimination with a 4-1 victory over San Francisco in the NCAA tournament regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Sunday. Nick Vander Tuig finished the game, sending UCLA to a game against UC Irvine at 6 p.m.

The Anteaters would advance to the super-regional round with a victory; if it wins, UCLA would force a decisive game Monday night.

Plutko succeed where Gerrit Cole failed Friday. He not only kept the Dons (32-25) off the scoreboard, but he also limited their time on the bases.

Cole, who many have projected as the No. 1 pick in the major league draft Monday, gave up three runs on 11 hits Friday in a 3-0 loss that left the Bruins needing to win four consecutive games to advance out of the double-elimination regional.

Plutko got UCLA one game closer. He gave up only a double by the Dons' Travis Higgs to start the fifth inning. Plutko (7-4) struck out six and walked two.

"I think Adam is the best freshman pitcher in the country," UCLA Coach John Savage said. "He may not have the numbers some guys have in terms of wins, but he stands up to anyone."

The Dons got quality starts from Kyle Zimmer and Matt Hiserman. Both pitched complete games in San Francisco’s first two games at the regional. The pitching was left to committee Sunday, with starter Jonathan Abramson going 2 1/3 innings.

The Bruins provided more offensive support for Plutko than they had for Cole and Trevor Bauer in the first two games, though that was grading on a curve.

Continue reading »

College baseball: UCLA's Trevor Bauer puts a cap on Fresno State batters

Trevor-bauer_200 When UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer had finished off an impressive 3-1 victory over Fresno State, eliminating the Bulldogs from the NCAA regional Saturday, it seemed clear that the best chance to get to Bauer was before the game started.

Bulldogs’ Coach Mike Batesole decided to have a serious discussion with home plate umpire Josh Scheipis. “We were just cleaning up a few ground rules from the other day,” Batesole said afterward.

Truth be told -- and UCLA catcher Steve Rodriquez went with the truth -- Batesole was complaining about Bauer’s well-worn and faded cap.

“He said it was white and that made it illegal,” Rodriguez said. “The ump said it was team issue.”

Ground rules established, Bauer (13-2) struck out four of the first six batters and 14 in the game. It gave Bauer 203 strikeouts this season, breaking by one Mark Prior’s Pacific 10 Conference single-season record and had moved into second on the conference’s career strikeouts list behind Tim Linecum.

“We live another day,” UCLA Coach John Savage said in big-picture reference to the victory.

The Bruins, coming off a 3-0 loss to San Francisco on Friday, were facing elimination. They needed every bit of Bauer’s performance as UCLA batters were once again more slumber than lumber (or metal).

The Bruins stranded 14 runners and were two for 11 with eight runners in scoring position.

“It’s very frustrating,” Savage said. “But that’s kind of been our style.”

Bauer’s style has been to cover up for those shortcomings. He wasn’t much different Saturday. “It was just Trevor being Trevor,” Savage said.

Bauer gave up only five hits and finished strong, striking out the side in the seventh and eighth innings. He threw 133 pitches for his ninth consecutive complete game. About the only stress the Bulldogs seemed to cause him came from hunger pains at the end.

“I’m pretty drained and need to get something to eat," Bauer said.

--Chris Foster

Photo: Trevor Bauer. Credit: Don Liebig / UCLA Photography

College baseball: Stanford defeats Kansas State, 10-3, in NCAA regional

Stanford-kstate_350 Mark Appel struck out eight and did not walk a batter and second baseman Lonnie Kauppila had four hits Friday to lead Stanford to a 10-3 victory over Kansas State in the opening game of an NCAA baseball regional at Cal State Fullerton.

Stanford (33-20) will play the winner of tonight's game between Fullerton and Illinois.

Stanford advanced to the winner's bracket game with a 16-hit attack to back Appel (6-6), a sophomore who had pitched only one other complete game this season. Appel gave up seven hits but kept the Wildcats off balance throughout the game.

Kansas State (36-24) committed five errors.

Kauppila, a high school standout at Crescenta Valley and Burbank, drove in two runs and scored twice.

More later at

--Gary Klein

Photo: Stanford's Lonnie Kauppila (8) is greeted at home plate by teammate Sahil Bloom after scoring against Kansas State on a double by Kenny Diekroeger in the second inning Friday at Cal State Fullerton. Credit: Francis Specker / Associated Press


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