By NEMS Daily Journal
UCLA, MSU have a baseball history
It was an improbable box score: Yale vs. UCLA at Starkville.
The occasion, of course, was an NCAA regional at Mississippi State, 20 years ago according to the calendar. Yale and UCLA were two of the teams playing in a six-team tournament. As the regional progressed, Yale and UCLA wound up playing each other, thus the box score.
UCLA won, setting up a match with Mississippi State – an elimination game. After a rain delay, while the field was being prepared, the UCLA coach worked his way to Left Field Lounge, and began holding court in a pickup close to ours. Despite being offered all manner of food and beverage, he insisted he would not accept anything that didn’t come in a sealed container.
As the coach explained it, the team didn’t know what to expect when they were sent to Starkville. He said he told them they were going to play in front of 10,000 fans who would be yelling after each ball and strike. A home crowd, but a smart crowd. Who wouldn’t want to play in that atmosphere?
(Attendance tends to be smaller at the UCLA home games. Apparently there are many things to do in Los Angeles.)
The rain stopped. UCLA won, eliminating Mississippi State. Then Oklahoma beat UCLA and went to Omaha.
Now there’s another improbable box score: Mississippi State vs. UCLA at Omaha.
Both teams knew what to expect when they learned they were going to Omaha. I’m sure someone from UCLA will be there who remembers 1992, when the largest crowd to see UCLA play was in Starkville.
Sen. Hob Bryan
MSU, Class of 1974