And then there were two. A 56-game regular season ended the season for USC, Cal, Washington, Washington St. and Utah and NCAA probation brought down the curtain on Arizona St.'s year. The Regionals did away with Oregon St. and then the Super Regionals did in Stanford and Oregon. Now we are down to just two heading to the College World Series -- UCLA and Arizona.
It's fitting that the Pac-12 co-champions will be the two teams representing the conference in Omaha. They topped the conference, they both swept through the Regionals and Super Regionals with a perfect 5-0 record and they did it while outscoring their opponents by a combined 94-29 in the postseason. There is no doubt that they are the two best that the Pac-12 has to offer and their reward is a trip to the mecca of college baseball.
UCLA Bruins Beat TCU, Win Los Angeles Super Regional
For decades, UCLA was a "sleeping giant". That giant is now very much awake.
The Bruins went to the College World Series Championship Series two years ago, have hosted Regionals in each of the last three years, are back-to-back conference champions and now they are going back to Omaha. That's their reward for defeating TCU in the Los Angeles Super Regional last weekend.
The Horned Frogs were actually in control early on. They belted two solo home runs early in game one and led 2-1 while the Bruins' offense looked just one step above inept. The series turned in the sixth inning of game one, though, when TCU walked one and hit two to load the bases with nobody out. That woke up the UCLA offense and they struck for five runs in the inning, highlighted by Cody Regis' three-RBI double en route to a 6-2 win.
With game one in their back pocket, the Bruins came out flying in game two. They went ahead in the second inning and wouldn't give up the lead. Nick Vander Tuig turned in his second consecutive strong start and David Berg worked three innings to wrap up a 4-1 win that would send them to Omaha.
Now the number two national seed heads to the College World Series as one of the favorites. They have been on fire of late, winning 16 of their last 17 and getting better starting pitching than at any other point in the season to compliment their outstanding bullpen and offense. The Bruins have already established themselves as a national power, but now it's time to take the final step -- win a national title.
Arizona Wildcats Beat St. John's, Win Tucson Super Regional
After demolishing every team in their way in the Regionals, Arizona advanced to their first Super Regional since 2008, but this was a little bit more special than any other. The Wildcats would be hosting this Super Regional, the first time they have ever done so.
The home crowd paid off all weekend, spurring them on as they took on upstart St. John's, but it was especially important in game one, when they found themselves behind 5-0. Arizona could have easily gone away after falling behind, but they battled back to tie it at 5-5. The game went to extra innings, where again the Wildcats fell behind. Heading to the bottom of the 10th down 6-5, Arizona managed one more comeback, striking for two in the bottom of the frame with Trent Gilbert's walk-off single wrapping things up.
Game two went a lot easier for the Wildcats, who jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning and never looked back. From there it became the Konner Wade as the right-hander allowed just two earned runs in a complete game performance, leading Arizona to a 7-4 win and the College World Series.
Now Arizona is on to Omaha for the first time since 2004. For head coach Andy Lopez, who went through a very rocky period a few years ago and considered retiring, this is especially sweet. Now he's going back to the College World Series, where he will try to win his first national title with Arizona after winning one with Pepperdine 20 years ago.
Oregon Ducks Lose To Kent St. In Three Games, Eugene Super Regional
It took just four years for Oregon to earn a national seed and play for a spot in Omaha so maybe they just haven't put in the time yet, but the manner in which they lost game three of their Super Regional. With the winning run at second for Kent St. in the bottom of the ninth, Brett Thomas lost a fly ball in the sun, allowing it to fall and the winning run to score.
The Ducks had their chance to take game one of the Super Regional, but they couldn't break through. It took Oregon until the fifth inning to get their first hit, by which time they were down 5-1, but they did walk 11 times and had men in scoring position seemingly every inning, including the ninth. In the end, their three errors proved to be the difference as they led to five unearned runs in a 7-6 loss.
Game two was another one-run contest, but this time the Ducks came out on top. Jake Reed allowed just two runs in 6.2 innings and the bullpen shut the door to wrap up a 3-2 win that ended the Golden Flashes' 21-game win streak and forced a deciding game three.
That game three didn't go so well for the Ducks, as they fell behind 2-0 in just the second inning. The offense was MIA for most of the game, worrying the 4,825 in attendance, but Ryon Healy came to the rescue in the eighth inning. He ripped a two-RBI single, tying the game at 2-2 and putting the momentum on Oregon's side. But then came the ninth inning and that sun-aided fly ball single, scoring the winning run and ending Oregon's season.
Stanford Cardinal Lose To Florida St. In Two Games, Tallahassee Super Regional
The Cardinal got absolutely demolished. Mark Appel melted down in front of the rowdy Seminoles crowd, walking in two runs and letting another come in on a wild pitch. That set the tone for the whole weekend as Stanford walked 12 in the opener and lost 17-1. They did hit the ball in game two, but they still were never in the game, losing 18-7. For a team with as much talent as Stanford this was a complete embarrassment and that's all that can really be said.