MBN’s John Vittas will be live from Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles to call Maryland’s winner’s bracket game with the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, UCLA.
Today’s pre-game show will feature full highlights from yesterday’s 3-1 win over Ole Miss and interviews from several Terps. LHP Willie Rios will join the show live.
The loser of tonight’s Maryland-UCLA game will play CSU Bakersfield Sunday at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Road Runners defeated Ole Miss 2-1 in this afternoon’s elimination game. The winner of that game will play the winner of tonight’s game Sunday at 11:05 p.m. ET. VIEW THE FULL BRACKET
UCLA is the tournament favorite, having gone 43-14 in the regular season. They are the Pac 12 champions. They defeated Cal State Bakersfield last night, 7-2. Their winning ways are predicated on pitching, small ball and doing the little things.
The Bruins lead the nation in pitching, having posted a 2.16 ERA on the year. Their K/BB ratio and H/9 rate also rank top four in college baseball. Their bullpen is lights out. The trio of David Berg, Tucker Forbes and Grant Dyer have held opponents to a 1.59 ERA over 129 innings of work. The good news for Maryland is that they used their ace James Kaprelian against Cal State Bakerstfield.
Fr. RHP Brian Shaffer (5-1, 4.73) vs. Sr. LHP Grant Watson (8-4, 2.08)
Shaffer is coming off the best outing of young Terps career. He allowed only one run while striking out seven over seven innings to beat No. 4 Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament, likely securing Maryland’s spot in the NCAA Tournament. The freshman has pitched much better in the second half of the season. He’s gone at least five innings in his last four starts and has struck out 21 batters over that span.
Watson has been a four-year staple on the UCLA , having amassed 30 wins over 369.2 career innings. In 2015, Watson has gone six innings or more in 12 of his 15 starts. He mixes four pitches and locates well, having pitched to a 2.08 ERA this year. He’s been even better at home, having allowed a total of seven earned runs in nine home starts this season. Watson pitched two relief outings against the Terps in 2012 and did not allow a run.
UCLA head coach John Savage has built a dynasty in his 12 years in Westwood, CA. The Bruins have hosted a Regional in five of their last six years, and have reached three College World Series’ over that span. They won the 2013 National Championship, but did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament last year.
Highlights from the Terps 3-1 win over Ole Miss: