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UCLA Baseball Earns No. 3 Seed in First-Ever Pac-12 Tournament

The Bruins will face off against the Golden Bears in Scottsdale with a chance to crawl their way to a fifth conference title under coach John Savage.

The postseason is starting one week ahead of schedule for the Bruins, and they managed to hold steady in the top tier of the conference as the season wound down.

UCLA baseball (35-20, 19-11 Pac-12) will be taking part in the first-ever Pac-12 tournament starting Wednesday, coming in as the No. 3 seed. The top-eight teams in the conference standings all made the cut, while the bottom four will not get a shot at stealing the crown down in Scottsdale, Arizona.

To open its tournament run, UCLA will play No. 6 seed Cal (28-25, 14-16) at roughly 8:30 p.m. The format is standard double-elimination up until the championship game, which will be played at 7 p.m. on Sunday and will be televised on ESPN 2. All games leading up to that will be shown on Pac-12 Networks.

UCLA is 10-5 against Pac-12 opponents in the past month and is 2-1 in neutral site contests on the season.

The Bruins and Golden Bears will be playing on the Division Two side of the bracket, which also features a first-round matchup between No. 2 seed Oregon State and No. 7 seed Washington. UCLA beat Oregon State and Cal two games to one in its regular season series against the two programs, but got swept by the Huskies on the road.

That series against the Beavers, which just came to a close Saturday, helped the Bruins boost their RPI and crawl up the rankings into a far safer spot with the NCAA tournament selection show a week away. Had UCLA completed the sweep, it would have swapped places with Oregon State and been the No. 2 seed.

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Considering Washington is on a 12-game winning streak and beat UCLA three games in a row just two weeks ago, the regular season-ending loss may have been a blessing.

The recent history between the Bruins and Golden Bears, on the other hand, paints a much more hopeful picture for the blue and gold. Although UCLA and Cal have split their head-to-head matchups the past two seasons, the Bruins have won nine of the last 12 series dating back to 2010.

UCLA, which has 10 conference titles under its belt all-time, has emerged as Pac-12 regular season championship five times since 2010. The Bruins actually finished in third place in the conference in 2013, though, a season that ended with them securing a national championship at the College World Series.

Now that the Pac-12 has joined every other power conference in adding a postseason tournament ahead of NCAAs, that late-season run has the potential to start slightly ahead of schedule for the Bruins.

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