One of the most respected coaches in college baseball, Savage led the Bruins to their first national baseball championship at the recent College World Series with an 8-0 win over Mississippi St. The Bruins, 49-17, rolled through the NCAA Tournament with a 10-0 record and finished 5-0 at the College World Series.
UCLA faced possibly the most difficult gauntlet of teams in history during its undefeated run to the national championship. The Bruins started off by beating two ranked teams in Cal. Poly and San Diego in Regional action along with San Diego St. Then UCLA travelled to No. 4 ranked Cal. St. Fullerton and eliminated the Titans two straight.
At the College World Series, UCLA knocked off No. 1 ranked LSU, No. 5 N.C. State, No. 2 North Carolina and then swept Mississippi State two straight in the Championship Series. Incredibly, the Bruins’ pitching staff only allowed four runs over five CWS games against these elite teams.
That achievement is especially relevant because Savage is also the pitching coach at UCLA and one of the best in the business.
In the 67-year-history of the College World Series, only one national champion has given up fewer runs than UCLA this year as California allowed three in 1957.
The Bruins were the first team in CWS history to allow one run or less in each of the five games they played.
UCLA only surrendered one run in two games played against hard-hitting Mississippi State in the Championship Finals. The lone run is the fewest ever given up by a team in the Finals.
UCLA’s pitchers only allowed 14 runs in 10 games during Regional, Super Regional and College World Series games. The core of every Savage team has been the remarkable pitching staffs he has molded. The top three starters on the 2013 staff included Adam Plutko (10-3, 2.25 ERA), Nick Vander Tuig (14-4, 2.16 ERA) and Grant Watson (9-3, 3.01 ERA).
The bullpen was incredible with All-American closer David Berg (NCAA record 24 saves in 51 appearances, 0.92 ERA, 78 strikeouts, 11 walks), James Kaprielian (34 appearances, 1.55 ERA in 40 2/3 innings), and Zack Weiss (43 appearances, 2.25 ERA in 40 innings), among others.
Pitchers posted a 2.55 ERA and struck out 457 batters with only 163 walks.
The staff, along with catcher Shane Zeile, only allowed 42 stolen bases in 64 attempts over 66 games and just one stolen base at the College World Series.
UCLA’s team ERA the last four years has been remarkable thanks to the tireless work of Savage.
- 2010 (3.00 ERA).
- 2011 (2.44 ERA).
- 2012 (3.13 ERA).
- 2013 (2.55 ERA).
Never in the history of UCLA baseball has the pitching been so good for so long, and that is a direct reflection of Savage who teaches every aspect of pitching to his hurlers, including the vital mental and emotional side.
Over his nine years, Savage has produced some of the nation’s top drafted pitchers, including Gerrit Cole (first overall pick in 2011 Draft by Pirates), Trevor Bauer (third overall pick in 2011 draft by Diamondbacks), David Huff (first round supplemental pick in 2006 by the Indians) and Rob Rasmussen (second round pick in 2010 by the Marlins), just to name a few.
Savage has guided the Bruins to the post-season in seven of the last eight seasons.
He became UCLA’s first head baseball coach to lead the Bruins to the finals of the College World Series in 2010, guiding UCLA to a 51-17 record that year in a second place national finish to South Carolina.
Savage has also led the Bruins to their third College World Series appearance in four years and guided the Bruins to a top three Pac-12 Conference finish in each of the last eight seasons, the only Pac-12 team to do so.
UCLA has had 65 players drafted by professional baseball since Savage came on the scene.
Savage, 47, and his wife, Lisa, have four children: Julia (17), Jack (15), Ryan (13) and Gabrielle (11).