By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Game 1 of the best-of-three series is at 7 p.m. today on ESPN.
1. Defend cleanly
UCLA doesn’t hit the ball well, batting .248 on the season and just .183 here in Omaha. But the Bruins have 69 stolen bases and can create ways to advance runners, and they average 4.7 runs per game. That usually leaves more than enough wiggle room for a strong pitching staff.
It’s an opportunistic offense, so MSU can’t afford any fielding mistakes.
2. Get it to the pen
All season, MSU has relied heavily on its bullpen. If the starters can log three or more innings of quality work, the coaches will be happy with that, because the relievers have rarely let the Bulldogs down.
MSU has the depth to match up in certain situations, or it can just let Chad Girodo and Ross Mitchell go for several innings.
3. Keep it loose
The Bulldogs know how to have fun off the field and in the dugout, which they believe helps them stay relaxed and focused on the field. On this biggest of stages, MSU can’t tighten up – that just wouldn’t be its style.