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Bruins in Paris

UCLA baseball prepares to face Omaha in opening series

Junior third baseman Kyle Karros eyes the ball as he swings. Karros is one of four captains for No. 17 UCLA baseball this season. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

Baseball


Omaha
Friday, 5 p.m.

Jackie Robinson Stadium
UCLA Live Stream-3
Omaha
Saturday, 2 p.m.

Jackie Robinson Stadium
UCLA Live Stream-3
Omaha
Sunday, 1 p.m.

Jackie Robinson Stadium
UCLA Live Stream-3

By Benjamin Royer

Feb. 16, 2023 10:26 p.m.

John Savage knows it has been a decade since the Bruins last appeared in Omaha.

A team filled with second- and third-year players hoisted the 2013 national championship and provided the now-19th year coach with his only collegiate title.

However, No. 17 UCLA baseball’s core of underclassmen fell short of the super regionals in 2022. But now, with more experience under their belt, the Bruins have another shot to begin their journey to the NCAA tournament – starting with a series against Omaha at Jackie Robinson Stadium beginning Friday.

“Having experience now, seeing how last year went, a huge thing was that we weren’t as locked in for some games that we should have been locked in for,” said junior third baseman Kyle Karros.

UCLA returns a group of multiyear players that the Pac-12 honored before the season.

The conference named six Bruins to the All-Pac-12 preseason team, including senior catcher Darius Perry, sophomore right-hander Alonzo Tredwell and sophomore shortstop Cody Schrier, who all earned All-Pac-12 honors at the end of the 2022 campaign.

The blue and gold was also projected to finish second in the conference and earned two first-place votes from Pac-12 coaches, an improvement from its fourth-place prediction last preseason.

“We’re really excited about our team,” Savage said. “We have tremendous character, guys that surely know what it takes to win, that are willing to do what it takes to win. We think overall that we’re going to be able to compete at a very high level.”

Collegiate Baseball pegged Tredwell and Schrier as preseason All-Americans, with the former also earning preseason All-American honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Tredwell featured as a closer during the 2022 season and was a consensus first team Freshman All-American after he posted a 2.11 earned run average with 62 strikeouts across 47 innings.

The 6-foot-8 Southern California native said he is moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation for his second season in Westwood, much like sixth-round MLB draft pick Max Rajcic did for the Bruins in 2022.

“It’s something I’m looking forward to for sure,” Tredwell said. “Down the line, I definitely see myself as starting pitcher. So, being able to establish myself this year as a starter, I am looking forward to it.”

Savage said Tredwell will join junior right-hander Jake Brooks and senior right-hander Kelly Austin as the weekend starters, while sophomore left-hander Ethan Flanagan – who was originally slotted for Sunday – will be shut down to begin the season.

Backing up Tredwell on the diamond, Karros is slated to start at third base and will be a team captain in 2023.

Karros hit to the tune of a .308 batting average with six home runs and 42 RBIs in 2022 before becoming a member of the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team for the first time in his collegiate career.

“I’m one of four captains this year,” Karros said. “For me, it’s not about telling guys what to do and getting on them – it’s not my style. I try to play hard, do everything the right way and let younger guys see how I go about my business.”

When UCLA played Omaha in 2022, the Bruins allowed seven unanswered runs after leading through the first six innings in the lone midweek contest. Savage said the bullpen is mostly set for 2023 and is ready for the Mavericks this time around.

Savage named sophomore right-hander Luke Jewett the closer, with freshman right-hander Cody Delvecchio, freshman left-hander Ben Jacobs, senior right-hander Charles Harrison and Austin as other high-leverage options.

With UCLA set to start the series on Friday at 5 p.m., Tredwell said the Bruins are hyped up for opening day.

“We’re pumped, we’re ready, and we’re looking forward to Omaha coming through those doors,” Tredwell said.

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Benjamin Royer | Alumnus
Royer was the 2023-2024 Assistant Sports editor on the baseball, gymnastics and men's water polo beats and a reporter on the football beat. He was also a staff writer on the baseball, football and gymnastics beats in 2022-2023. He studied communication and graduated in 2024.
Royer was the 2023-2024 Assistant Sports editor on the baseball, gymnastics and men's water polo beats and a reporter on the football beat. He was also a staff writer on the baseball, football and gymnastics beats in 2022-2023. He studied communication and graduated in 2024.
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