UCLA Ranked No. 3, Pair Named All-America in Preseason Poll
LOS ANGELES – Redshirt sophomore shortstop Matt McLain and redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Zach Pettway were both named Preseason All-Americans while the Bruins were tabbed the No. 3 team in country as Collegiate Baseball unveiled the results of its 2021 preseason poll on Tuesday.
McLain and Pettway were both named First Team Preseason All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball.
UCLA was the highest-ranked team in the west in Collegiate Baseball's poll and trailed only Florida and Vanderbilt nationally. The Bruins are one of three Pac-12 squads to make the top-25, joined by Arizona (No. 10) and Arizona State (15).
McLain is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign that earned him Second Team All-America honors. He led the team in a number of offensive categories, including batting average (.397), slugging (.621), RBIs (19), hits (23), home runs (3), and OPS (1.043). After manning center field as a freshman, he deftly handled the move to the infield in 2020, finishing at No. 3 in D1Baseball's positional power rankings for shortstops. McLain was the lone shortstop listed on Collegiate Baseball's Preseason All-America First Team.
Entering his fourth year in the UCLA rotation, Pettway is among the most established college pitchers in the country. He was downright unhittable as a true junior last season, earning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year honors from D1Baseball after going 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 29-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 25 2/3 innings. He was the league's Pitcher of the Week on two of four possible occasions, becoming the first Bruin to repeat as the winner of the award since Trevor Bauer in 2011. Two of his more impressive outings included a 13-strikeout game against St. Mary's and a six-inning, three-hit effort to help defeat then-No. 2 Vanderbilt on Mar. 6, 2020. For his career, Pettway has a 13-6 record and 3.44 ERA.
UCLA is coming off a 2020 campaign that looked like it had the makings of a special season before it was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bruins won 11 straight games out of the gate, ultimately finishing with a 13-2 record and a No. 1 ranking in the RPI. UCLA returns a vast majority of its nucleus, with only center fielder Garrett Mitchell and closer Holden Powell – both selected in the 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft – not returning among starters from last year's team.
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