When UCLA baseball coach John Savage goes to the bullpen to bring in his closer next season, he will find a familiar face taking the mound for the save.
David Berg announced Friday that he will return to UCLA for his senior season, after failing to sign by Friday’s deadline with the Texas Rangers, who drafted him in the 17th round.
“If the Rangers had offered me what I was looking for, I could have changed my mind,” Berg said to the Los Angeles Times. “The thought process was four years ago, when I was making my decision to go to UCLA, it was a golden opportunity to pitch under Coach Savage. To be able to get a degree from UCLA, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m glad to be back for my teammates.”
— David Berg (@davidberg_26) July 18, 2014
As one of the best closers in college baseball, Berg will be a huge boost to UCLA’s bullpen next season. Despite missing a significant number of games with a biceps injury in 2014, he had a 1.50 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 11 saves in 48 innings.
“To have him back for one more season is special,” Savage said in a press release. “His presence, work ethic and leadership will be a continued staple in our program.”
Meanwhile, three others drafted signed with their respective teams. Junior catcher Shane Zeile, drafted in the 5th round, signed with the Detroit Tigers. Redshirt junior relief pitcher Max Schuh signed with the Baltimore Orioles after being drafted in the 7th round. Redshirt sophomore Jake Ehret signed after being drafted in the 14th round by the Cincinnati Reds.
UCLA signees Brady Aiken (No. 1 overall pick) and Jacob Nix (5th round) both failed to sign with the Houston Astros, leaving the door open for them to both potentially enroll at UCLA.
After originally agreeing to a verbal deal with Aiken and Nix, the Astros reportedly had concerns with Aiken’s elbow, subsequently leading to both deals falling apart.
Both players were being advised by agent Casey Close, which could affect their eligibility to play for UCLA. The NCAA would have to clear them of any involvement with the agent for them to be able to play for the Bruins.
If Aiken and Nix ended up at UCLA, they would have to wait three years before again being eligible for the draft. While this is still a developing situation and legal options are being explored, the more likely scenario is that both players end up at a junior college for one year and then re-enter the draft next year.