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Filia provides boost for Bruins

College Baseball

Former Edison star helps lead UCLA to first national championship, stands out in clinching win over Mississippi State.

July 03, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
(Rich Heins )

Five years ago, Eric Filia made a decision that would alter his future when he verbally committed to play baseball at UCLA.

He did so, he said then, during his sophomore year at Edison High, for many reasons. One, in particular, stood out.

"They have a great history when it comes to education and athletics," he said to the Independent in a 2008 story that told of his decision to attend UCLA. "Even though they haven't won a national title in baseball, my plan when I get there, is to win a national championship. My goal is to make it to Omaha."

Filia, who plays right field for the Bruins, succeeded on both counts, and his dreams were wildly exceeded.

In his second trip in as many years to Omaha, Neb., site of the College World Series, the sophomore played a huge role as UCLA won its first national championship in baseball. He drove in a career-high five runs as the Bruins secured the title on June 25 by shutting down Mississippi State, 8-0.

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The Bruins (49-17) completed a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals against the Bulldogs (51-20) and ended the season with 11 straight wins. They went 10-0 in the NCAA tournament including 5-0 in Omaha.

The baseball national championship added to UCLA's NCAA record for team titles which now is at 109.

The Bruins have made it to Omaha in June now in three of the past four years.

"Like I said then [2008], when I saw how many team national championships UCLA had, for baseball, there was zero," Filia said on Tuesday. "To be part of the first team to make history for the school in winning a baseball national championship, is just incredible."

UCLA allowed four runs in five games to set a CWS record for fewest runs in the metal-bat era that started in 1974. The Bruins outscored their five opponents, No. 4 LSU, North Carolina St., No. 1 North Carolina, and Mississippi St. twice, 19-4.

"Basically, this is a dream come true," said Filia who, as a freshman at Edison, set school records for most hits in a single season (53) and most at-bats (106), and tied a school record held by Jeff Kent for the best single-season batting average (.500).

"I was 13 years old when I came with my dad to Rosenblatt [Stadium, former site of the College World Series]," he recalled. "I remember everything about the experience, the houses across the street from the stadium where memorabilia was sold, the people. And here I was last week, playing in Omaha for the second time. Just unbelievable."

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