OMAHA, Neb. -- Bill it as the Bruins and the Bridesmaids.
Neither UCLA nor South Carolina has ever won a College World Series title, so Rosenblatt Stadium's last game will feature a first-time national champion.
In fact, UCLA had never won a game here before this year, going 0-2 in its two previous appearances (in 1969 and 1997). Since 1956, only three teams -- Cal State Fullerton (1979), Georgia (1990) and Oregon State (2006) -- have won the championship without previously winning a game here. UCLA is bidding to join them - as well as 16 other Bruins sports that have combined to win 106 national titles.
"It's the athletic department with the most national championships in the country," said UCLA coach
South Carolina has finished runner-up three times - most recently in 2002 after, like this year, coming through the losers' bracket. That was the last year of the single-game final format.
"Back when we were in this position before we had finished on an early evening on a Friday," said South Carolina coach
Here's what to expect for the championship series:
The pitching staff was so taxed coming through the losers' bracket that standout relief is again essential if the Gamecocks are to win the series. LHP
It isn't as dominant as some of the teams Tanner has brought to Omaha, but it is productive nonetheless. CF
There's plenty of depth here, although it hasn't been needed much. RHP
The Bruins have been without 2B
Cole and Bauer (along with TCU's