UCLA is seeded No. 2 nationally for the NCAA baseball championships and will face Creighton in the first game of the Los Angeles Regional Friday at Jackie Robinson Stadium, the NCAA announced Monday.
Florida is seeded No. 1 with Florida State, Baylor, Oregon, North Carolina, Louisiana State and South Carolina rounding out the top eight. The full bracket is available here.
The Bruins (42-14) earned the highest national seeding in school history, bettering the No. 6 they received in 2010. That year, UCLA advanced to the College World Series championship series, but coach John Savage downplayed the importance of earning a national seeding.
"A national seed is nice," he said. "It’s a credit to how we've played and a nice recognition of the program but that's about it. When you start Friday night, it doesn’t matter where you are seeded. You have to go out and play and you better be sharp. It’s a double elimination and if you have a couple of bad games, you’ll be going home."
The Bruins found that out last year. They weren't seeded nationally, but they were seeded No. 1 in their regional, but lost their opening game to San Francisco and could not climb out of the loser's bracket and advance.
San Francisco pitcher Kyle Zimmer, projected as a top-five pick in this year's MLB Draft, beat the Bruins, 3-0, in that opening game. UCLA can expect to face another dangerous pitcher in the regionals as Creighton features junior left-hander Ty Blach, who pitched a one-hit shutout in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament last week.
This year, UCLA enters the postseason having won 11 of 12 games and 14 of its last 16. The Bruins won the Pac-12 title for the second consecutive season, had the No. 2 Ratings Percentage Index in the country, went 20-4 away from home and had the No. 4 strength of schedule in the nation. It is the 18th time UCLA has earned an NCAA tournament berth, including the last five years in a row.
Creighton (26-28) earned a berth in the tournament by unexpectedly winning the the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The Bluejays finished last in the conference regular-season standings, but went 4-0 in the conference tournament to secure and automatic bid.
San Diego (40-15) and New Mexico (36-22) will square off in the other game of the Los Angeles regional. The regional is a double elimination format and the winner will advance to play the winner of the College Station regional, which includes host Texas A&M, Texas Christian, Mississippi and Dayton.