College World Series 2013 finals: News and notes from UCLA's championship

Head coach John Savage and his UCLA Bruins celebrate their 2013 College World Series title. - Stephen Dunn

After UCLA captured the baseball national title with an 8-0 win over Mississippi State Tuesday night, we take a quick look at some of the interesting tidbits from its historic victory.

By now, you've probably heard all about how this is UCLA's first-ever national championship in baseball, despite having won 108 athletic titles in other sports. So let's look at some things you might not know about the Bruins' national championship run.

For starters, let's examine how ridiculously good the Bruins' pitching was in Omaha:

  • Adam Plutko was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. In his two starts during the College World Series, he gave up just two runs off eight hits over 13 innings-pitched.
  • Plutko paired with fellow junior Nick Vander Tuig to form one of the most dominant duos in Omaha history, giving up just three runs and 17 hits in their four CWS starts. They hold an ERA of 0.96 during that span.
  • Sophomore closer David Berg appeared in every one of the Bruins' 10 tournament games. He tied a NCAA single-season record with his 51st appearance of the season Tuesday night, and his 24th save of the season on Monday night broke the NCAA record.
  • The UCLA staff allowed just four runs in 45 innings in Omaha.

UCLA's offense, or lack thereof, was also historic:

  • The Bruins scored just 19 runs in five CWS games, the lowest ever for a tournament champion.
  • They slugged just .193 in Omaha, also a low for champ.
  • They also became the first title holder not to hit a single home run during the CWS since 1966.
  • Homers were hard to come by for anybody in TD Ameritrade Park: only three balls left the yard in 14 games.
  • UCLA's eight runs on Tuesday night was its highest score total of the NCAA Tournament. Its tournament average outside of that relative offensive explosion was four.
  • Despite that high run total, Tuesday night was hardly a slugfest for the Bruins. Their first five runs were set up by three hit batsman and three errors, and three of those runs came off two sac flys and a squeeze bunt.
  • Eric Filia was one of the team's few offensive bright spots, driving in five RBIs in Tuesday's clincher. In the two games of the championship series, the sophomore went 4-for-6 with seven RBIs.

UCLA's title is the culmination of head coach John Savage's escalating success:

  • It's been a steady climb under Savage for Bruins baseball: they went 15-41 in his first year in 2005, made a regional in 2006, made a super regional in 2007, and reached Omaha in 2010.
  • Savage first won a title as an assistant at USC in 1998, when the Trojans knocked off Arizona State in a 21-14 game. Oh, how times have changed.
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