Golden Spikes Spotlight: UCLA’s Ryan Garcia
UCLA righthander Ryan Garcia, the No. 1 pitcher on the No. 1 team in the nation, couldn’t stop crying.
Granted, he was just 4 years old at the time, and he was a most-reluctant T-ball player.
“‘I don’t want to be here’,” said Garcia’s father, Edgar, quoting his son from 17 years ago. “But I put the ball on the tee for him, and he smacked it to left field.
“When he got to first base, I asked him if he wanted to go home, and he said, ‘No, daddy, I want to stay here.’”
Unfortunately for Bruins opponents, Garcia stuck to baseball from that point forward, arriving on UCLA’s campus in the fall of 2016 as an infielder/pitcher. Right away, Bruins coach John Savage decided that Garcia’s best position was pitcher.
After a freshman season in the bullpen, Garcia became a starter in 2018, going 8-1, 2.23.
This year, he has been even more dominant: 8-0 with a 1.30 ERA in 12 appearances, including 10 starts.
In 69 innings, Garcia has allowed just 38 hits (.161 batting average), including seven doubles and four homers, and 21 walks.
He is a Golden Spikes semifinalist who ranks third in the nation in ERA and first among Power Five conferences.
“I’m not saying he’s in the Trevor Bauer/Gerrit Cole class,” Savage said of two former UCLA first-round pitchers now in the majors. “But he’s in that company.” …