UCLA earned its spot the school's table of champions.
The Bruins completed a rugged run through the NCAA tournament with Tuesday's 8-0 victory against Mississippi State at the final game of the 2013 College World Series. The victory, in front of a TD Ameritrade Park record 27,127, was UCLA's 10th straight in the tournament.
The national title was the 130th won by a UCLA athletic team but the first for the baseball program.
“Before the season started, we had a weight lifting session and we went to the national championship board,” pitcher Nick Vander Tuig said. “We saw all the national champions and then we went to baseball and there were none.
“I remember Coach saying, 'We have to get our name on the board.' So we've worked hard from day one.”
Vander Tuig is one of the key reasons the Bruins are champions. He dominated Mississippi State in Tuesday's second game of the best-of-three championship series, holding the Bulldogs to five hits in eight innings.
He also benefitted from the most support UCLA has given one of their pitchers in five CWS games. Never has a champion done so much with so little offense in Omaha.
In five games, the Bruins:
» Scored 19 runs. That's the fewest by a national champion, exceeding the previous low of 21 runs by the 1972 Southern California and 1992 Pepperdine teams. Pepperdine's total was the lowest in the metal-bat era that started in 1974.
» Hit .227. That's the lowest by a team in the metal-bat era as Cal State Fullerton hit .244 in winning in 2004. UCLA came into the final game batting .183 but exploded for 12 hits to bring its average up to .227.
» Did not homer. The Bruins became the first to win it all and go homerless in Omaha since Ohio State in 1966.
Of course, such anemic numbers can be overcome when a team pitches and play defense as UCLA did in its five CWS games. The Bruins allowed four runs in five games, the second-fewest behind the three the 1957 California club gave up in winning the title in five games.
The Bruins' stinginess betters the previous metal-bat era low of six by Pepperdine's 1992 championship squad. UCLA's 0.80 ERA this season was a metal-bat low.
The Bruins also committed only three errors in Omaha but none figured into the scoring.
“We did this the right way,” UCLA coach John Savage said. “We played baseball. We pitched, we played defense, we were opportunistic on offense. At the end of the day, we outlasted everyone.”
UCLA finished its championship season 49-17 while Mississippi State, which was playing in its first final, ended 51-20.
“Five years ago, we inherited a club that won 23 ballgames,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “These guys climbed all the way to the top and we didn't finish the deal. That's disappointing but I'm certainly proud of our players.”
Vander Tuig made sure the Bulldogs and their fans who made the trip to Omaha headed home disappointed by capping UCLA's string of dominant pitching. He won his fourth game of the NCAA tournament and his 14th of the season, which tied him for the national lead, by allowing one Bulldog to make it as far as third base. The junior right-hander struck out six before yielding to David Berg in the ninth.
Berg tied an NCAA record with his 51st appearance of the season, and he finished off the Bulldogs with a perfect ninth inning. Berg set the national record for saves in Monday's victory in the opening game of the final series.