The UCLA Bruins stand just one win away from claiming the 2013 College World Series title—and they're likely to get that win tonight.
The Bruins struck first in the Championship Series with an impressive 3-1 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Game 1. Now they need just one more win to complete the sweep in the best-of-three series.
The Bruins have slain a series of top-seeded giants to get to this point. They've shown a steely resolve in Omaha and proved their worth to the rest of the team's across the country.
Here's why they'll hold up the trophy tonight.
History is on Their Side
The best-of-three format in the Championship Series certainly gives teams the opportunity to bounce back from a Game 1 loss. But it doesn't happen often.
The winner of Game 1 has won the title the following game in each of the last three seasons and six of the ten seasons since the best-of-three format was instituted in 2003.
With a win already in tow, the Bruins come into the game with all of the momentum and confidence to do it again. The fact that the Game 1 winner has only been denied the title twice in 10 years means they can play relaxed.
That could be a huge advantage with all the pressure on Mississippi State.
The Pitching Staff is on Fire
To put it simply, the Bulldogs will be lucky to score more than one run.
UCLA's pitching staff has been clutch throughout their time in Omaha, allowing just one run in every single game. In Game 1, starting pitcher Adam Plutko started the game off by retiring the first 10 batters he faced and kept the Bulldogs' bats quiet before handing it over to the bullpen.
The Bruins aren't flashy; they're hitting a paltry .183 in the series. However, the pitchers on the hill give them the best chance to win every time out.
As Kendall Rogers of PerfectGame USA points out, the Bruins have a way of protecting a lead.
Coaches have talked about how #UCLA up 3 or 4 to nothing is like being down 8 or 9 to nothing. Will be interesting to see how this unfolds.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersPG) June 25, 2013
The Clutch Factor
Winning tonight won't be easy. The pressure of winning the school's first championship is sure to be unnerving.
However, the Bruins have shown time and time again they are more than capable of handling pressure. For starters, they have the best closer in the country in David Berg.
According to the Bruins Twitter Feed, Berg set an NCAA record for saves with his 24th of the season in Game 1.
As Ryan Rosenblatt of BruinsNation.com points out, they are perfect this season when holding a lead going into the seventh inning.
Winning a championship requires a team to step up big when it matters most. This UCLA team has already proven it's their specialty.