World-Herald staff writer Tony Boone compiled schedules, team stats and everything Maverick fans need to know about the Los Angeles regional.
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At Jackie Robinson Stadium
No. 3 seed Loyola Marymount (32-23) vs. No. 2 Baylor (34-17), 3 p.m.
No. 1 UCLA (47-8) vs. No. 4 UNO (31-22-1), 9 p.m.
Game 3: LM-Baylor loser vs. UNO-UCLA loser, 4 p.m.
Game 4: LM-Baylor winner vs. UNO-UCLA winner, 9 p.m.
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 2 p.m.
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 8 p.m.
Second championship, if needed, 9 p.m. on Monday
No. 1 seed UCLA
Pac-12 finish: First
Record vs. 2019 regional teams: 18-7
NCAA tournament appearances: 23
Hitting stats: .294 batting average, 6.6 runs per game, 56 home runs, .473 slugging percentage
Pitching stats: 2.59 ERA, 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings, .192 opponent batting average, 16 saves
Outlook: The Bruins, who set a program record with their 47 regular-season victories, enter the NCAA tournament as the top overall seed and riding a 10-game winning streak. They’ve been ranked No. 1 by most of the major polls for 11 straight weeks, which is the longest continuous stretch in UCLA history. This is the only team in the country that didn’t drop a weekend series in 2019. The Bruins also went a perfect 11-0 in midweek games. UCLA has been dominant on the mound, posting a national-best 2.59 ERA. It has surrendered two earned runs or fewer in its past 10 games. It’s starting duo of Ryan Garcia (9-0, 1.42) and Jack Ralston (11-0, 2.43) have combined for a 20-0 record and a 1.93 ERA while averaging 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Closer Holden Powell has allowed only three earned runs since March 17 and has 16 saves on the season. Outfielder Garrett Mitchell has batted .486 over his past 15 games.
No. 2 seed Baylor
Big 12 finish: Second
Record vs. 2019 regional teams: 10-9
NCAA tournament appearances: 21
Hitting stats: .310 batting average, 6.9 runs per game, 50 home runs, .470 slugging percentage
Pitching stats: 3.86 ERA, 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings, .233 opponent batting average, seven saves
Outlook: The Bears entered the final weekend of the regular season with the lead in the Big 12, then saw its hopes for a conference title slip away when it dropped two straight games at Oklahoma State. They then went 1-2 in the league tournament and head into regional play having lost four of their past five games. Baylor, which boasts a .310 team batting average, ranks among the nation’s best offensive teams. The Bears are led by conference batting champion and co-Big 12 player of the year Davis Wendzel. The third baseman hit .404 in league games and is batting .377 on the season. Catcher Shea Langeliers (.304) and reliever Kyle Hill (6-0, seven saves), who hasn’t been scored upon in 22 outings, joined Wendzel as unanimous all-conference picks.
No. 3 seed Loyola Marymount
West Coast finish: Fourth (first in tourney)
Record vs. 2019 regional teams: 1-3
NCAA tournament appearances: 9
Hitting stats: .261 batting average, 4.4 runs per game, 22 home runs, .353 slugging percentage
Pitching stats: 3.48 ERA, 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings, .235 opponent batting average
Outlook: The Lions qualified for the NCAA tournament field for the first time since 2000 by winning the West Coast Conference tourney after finishing in a fourth-place tie during the regular season. Loyola Marymount got hot at the right time, going 3-0 in the postseason after dropping five of its previous seven games. The Lions, however, have a top-of-the-line starter who could give Baylor trouble in Friday’s opener. Conference pitcher of the year Codie Paiva (7-5), one of the top pitchers ever at LMU, boasts a 1.71 ERA and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any start this season. Offensively, the Lions have a pair of players to watch. Infielder Trevin Esquerra (.335) has hit 16 of the team’s 22 home runs, and shortstop Nick Sogard has stolen 28 bases in 31 attempts.
No. 4 seed UNO
Summit finish: First (first in tourney)
Record vs. 2019 regional teams: 0-3
NCAA tournament appearances: 1
Hitting stats: .265 batting average, 5.6 runs per game, 30 home runs, .373 slugging percentage
Pitching stats: 4.66 ERA, 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings, .246 opponent batting average, 17 saves
Outlook: The Mavericks make their NCAA tournament debut on Friday after following up their Summit League regular-season championship with their first conference tourney title. UNO was picked to finish fifth in the Summit in the preseason, then exceeded those expectations by leading the conference from start to finish. UNO’s strengths lie with its weekend starters and its national-best defense. The Mavs led all of Division I with a .984 fielding percentage, committing only 32 errors in 54 games. Summit League pitcher of the year Payton Kinney (11-1, 1.65 ERA) will take the mound for UNO in its NCAA opener. The sixth-year senior tossed 13⅓ shutout innings in the league tournament to help the Mavs earn their NCAA bid.