Congratulations to the UCLA Bruins. They became the 2013 NCAA Men’s College Baseball Champions. The Bruins did so in dominating fashion and won their first ever championship in baseball. (Bold Prediction Correct!)
The Bruins were under the radar a bit for much of the season and at the beginning of the tournament. They were a number one seed in the Regional round and went 3-0 to advance. In the Super Regionals they beat a good Cal State Fullerton team 2-0. Then in Omaha, went an impressive 5-0 to capture the crown. They picked a pretty good time to get hot and go 10-0 over the last couple of weeks. In Omaha, they defeated the #1 and #4 ranked teams in the nation in North Carolina and LSU respectively then beat Mississippi State twice. The eye popping stat, in those five games, they allowed a total of four runs. Allowing four runs in 45 innings is an attention grabber at any level.
The title was the 109th overall title for the university and the first on the diamond.
Aside from College World Series action, for baseball fans who like long games that extend into the early hours of the morning, this season as been a good year thus far. The season has not even reached the All Star break yet, but lately fans have been getting much, much more then they are bargaining for.
So far in 2013, 10.6 percent of MLB games have gone into extra innings. Currently, that is the highest rate of extra inning games since 1965 when 11.0 percent of games went past nine innings.
It is not just at the Major League level either as the NCAA tournament saw its fare share of free baseball as well. The most recent marathon was a game between Rice and North Carolina State. With many rain delays mixed in, the outcome was decided in the 17th inning with NC State winning 5-4 and advancing to the College World Series.
At the pro level, 17 innings was nothing as the Mets and Marlins played a whopping 20 inning affair. The Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners played 13 scoreless innings before both teams’ tallied 5 runs in the 14th and the Sox finally winning in 16.
Additionally, there have been eight games of 15 or more innings. Only one season in the past six have had more such games for the entire season and that was in 2012. At the current pace, that number would reach 17 games of 15 plus innings. That number has not been reached since 1976 when there were 19 marathons of that length.
As the calendar is about to change, schools are officially out and summer is in full effect. It is a great time of year to catch a ball game, and likely a ball game that will last hours on end.