June 24, 2010 |
Reporting from Omaha — Matt Purke wears black eyeglasses and his baseball cap sits tilted on his head, as those worn by many left-handed pitchers seem to do. He's a bit quirky, too — another trait shared by lefties in baseball lore — and his Texas Christian teammates have nicknamed him " Harry Potter." You could say he also has some other wizard-like qualities. Purke, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound freshman with a fastball that tops out at about 97 mph, has a record of 15-0 in 17 starts.
March 30, 2010 |
Therapy waits in UCLA's bullpen. If the call comes in the late innings, then it takes the mound and the team is soothed. The Bruins know Dan Klein will close it out and send them home winners. "There's this calmness in handing the ball over to Dan," said Coach John Savage, who also serves as the team's pitching coach. "Nothing gets him rattled." He wasn't Tuesday, when he sealed UCLA's 2-1 win over Pepperdine, pushing the Bruins to 21-0, the best start in school history that has earned them a top-six ranking in all five major college baseball polls.
June 26, 2010 |
There's something going on in the city of Corona, with a population of nearly 150,000. Whether it's the affordable housing, access to the 91 Freeway or something in the water, the area has been producing big-time football players en masse. "You could outfit a college team with the talent in Corona," Upland football Coach Tim Salter said. There are five high schools in the Corona-Norco Unified School District whose football programs keep getting better. "Long Beach Poly would have a run for their money if we were all one school," said a Corona Roosevelt assistant coach.
April 8, 2010 |
Big Division I baseball program, right? Well, in about the fourth inning of UCLA's game Tuesday night, someone opens the hood to the snack bar grill, and burger smoke drifts down over Jackie Robinson Stadium like velum. It's enough to make a vegetarian join the steer-of-the-month club. Indeed, the smoke is so primal and evocative, a couple of the infielders look like they are about to cry. So summarizes the casual/cozy vibe of college baseball, even around an elite program such as this.
June 5, 2012 |
Surrounded by family and friends at an Encino restaurant, left-handed pitcher Max Fried of Studio City Harvard-Westlake looked up at the television screen and heard Commissioner Bud Selig announce his name as the seventh overall selection in baseball's amateur draft. "Honestly, it's all a blur," Fried said Monday night. "It's an unbelievable feeling. " Fried was selected by the San Diego Padres. His Harvard-Westlake teammate Lucas Giolito was selected No. 16 overall by the Washington Nationals, ending a day of uncertainty for the 6-foot-6 right-hander.
June 15, 2008 |
French Open champion Rafael Nadal defeated third-seeded Andy Roddick, 7-5, 6-4, Saturday to reach the Queen's Club final in London for the first time. The top-seeded Nadal is trying to become the first Spaniard in 36 years to win a grass-court tournament. Andres Gimeno won at Eastbourne in 1972. Nadal will face second-seeded Novak Djokovic in today's final. Djokovic defeated fourth-seeded David Nalbandian, 6-1, 6-0.
June 17, 2010 |
This weekend might have been more interesting if Vladimir Shpunt were still on the Dodgers' payroll.ÃÂÃÂ
Would the "positive energy" transmitted by the Russian emigre physicist and self-proclaimed healer trump the negative vibe directed at Manny Ramirez by Red Sox fans? ÃÂÃÂ
Sadly, we'll never know.ÃÂÃÂ
The Sandy Koufax comparisons are premature, of course, but Clayton Kershaw gives Dodgers fans reason to dream.
January 2, 2011 |
It's time to peer into my crystal ball and see what 2011 has in store for Southern California high school athletes, coaches and fans: Huntington Beach Edison pitcher Henry Owens will be chosen in the first 10 picks of baseball's June amateur draft, then celebrate by getting on his surfboard and riding the best waves at 56th Street in Newport Beach. Darnell Taylor from Los Angeles Crenshaw will shatter a glass backboard with a dunk. On football letter-of-intent day, USC will proclaim that it has signed the three best players in Southern California, and the Trojans will be accurate with a class that includes De'Anthony Thomas of Crenshaw, George Farmer of Gardena Serra and Tre Madden of Mission Viejo.
June 10, 2010 |
Numbers don't lie. UCLA's baseball team has been little more than a speed bump for Cal State Fullerton. All you have to do is go to the big box score. In 2007, the Bruins toddled off to Fullerton for a super regional. They were sent right back home after being outscored, 14-3, in two losses to the Titans. In 2008, the Bruins returned to Fullerton, beat the Titans in one game and needed only one more victory to advance. UCLA pitchers gave up 16 runs in two losses to Fullerton.
April 29, 2010 |
The road to the Final Four will have a new look next season. On Thursday, the NCAA's board of directors approved expansion from 65 to 68 teams and endorsed a proposal to add three more opening-round games to the schedule. It's only the second time in a quarter-century that the NCAA has increased the number of teams competing for the men's national championship. Now it's time to start mapping out the details, which could include putting at-large teams in the early games. "The [men's basketball]