It took 16 consecutive wins, but the UCLA baseball team finally landed in the top 10 of Baseball America's latest collegiate rankings.
UCLA (16-0) comes in at No. 9 after sweeping Oral Roberts over the weekend is one of the nation's two remaining undefeated teams (Pac-10 rival Arizona is the other at 20-0). The Bruins have ascended 14 spots from their preseason No. 23 billing.
Much of the preseason talk centered around UCLA's outstanding pitching staff -- and the group has not disappointed. Gerrit Cole (ace 1A) and Trevor Bauer (ace 1B) are a combined 9-0 and have struck out 96 batters in nine starts. Sunday starter Rob Rasmussen has impressed as well, posting an ERA of 2.79. First-year closer Dan Klein has not allowed a run in 11 innings.
The team's offense was an uncertainty but it too has not shown signs of slowing down. In fact, every starter is hitting .333 or better, with sophomore second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla leading the charge at .431.
The production is coming from unlikely sources. For instance, the freshmen are hitting a combined .381 (53-for-139). On top of that, sophomore catcher Steve Rodriguez is hitting .395 and leads the team with five home runs. He struggled as a freshman last spring, hitting .179 (17-for-95 in 38 games) last spring. He already has 17 hits through 16 games this season.
UCLA looks to keep it going at UC Santa Barbara (9-6) on Tuesday afternoon.